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DARLINGTON V NORTHAMPTON TOWN

Posted on: Fri 18 Dec 2009

Darlington manager Steve Staunton will have to patch up his defence for the visit of Northampton Town, which faces a 9.15am pitch inspection, to The Northern Echo Arena.

With Ian Miller likely to miss out again because of a slight hamstring tear, and Mark Bower and Andrew Milne sidelined with ankle injuries, the manager faces a tricky selection dilemma.

One option is to recall fit again Steve Foster, while Paul Arnison is likely to be called up for his experience.

Youngster Dan Burn had a fine debut at Torquay last week when he came on for Bower, and while he may start, the manager is likely to opt for experience.

Bower needs an operation that will sideline him for three months, while Milne has returned to his club Leeds for treatment on an injury that might not be as bad as first feared.

"We looked fairly solid in our last home game, so it is a massive blow to lose defenders," said Staunton.

Whoever steps in will have to be composed and focussed, for the goals the side has shipped have been poor ones, as the manager acknowledged.

"We have not been getting done by goals that are created," he reflected. "They have come from bad errors, blocked shots and ricochets. I have told the players that the way to stop this happening is sheer hard work.

"We need leaders out there on the pitch, but it is difficult when confidence is low. Hard work is the answer because there is no magic formula whether you play at the very top or in Sunday Leagues."

Northampton are on a poor run, and are without a League 2 win since October, though they have a lot more points on the board than Darlington.

"We have to improve whether we play teams near the top or the bottom" said Staunton. "If the performance is better we can go out there and win games. We have already proved that."

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Midfielder Gary Smith may be fit after having injections to ease knee and ankle injuries, though youngster Danny Groves will be sidelined because of a hairline fracture to his foot.

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