Daggers v Darlington MATCH PREVIEW

DARLINGTON were one of the major news stories in the footballing world this week when they appointed former Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton as their new manager. The Quakers swooped for the former Liverpool and Aston Villa defender after Colin Too

by MIKE SIMMONDS

DARLINGTON were one of the major news stories in the footballing world this week when they appointed former Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton as their new manager.

The Quakers swooped for the former Liverpool and Aston Villa defender after Colin Tood left the club by mutual consent.

On announcing his appointment, Darlington chairman Raj Singh said: ""We're excited about the prospect of working with someone with vast experience in the game and a wealth of contacts.


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"Steve enjoyed a formidable playing career and he has a strong desire to succeed as a manager as well.

"We spoke to a handful of applicants over the weekend and Steve came across as the most professional and organised. He'd done some thorough homework on Darlington and League Two, our players and potential new players, some of whom he's already targeted to bring in."

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Staunton has already moved to appoint former England international Kevin Richardson as his assistant and the pair had a watching brief as their new side went out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Tuesday night.

Whether Staunton will be a success or not is open to debate as the Irishman was thrust into the job of managing his country, and only lasted 34 games until he was sacked in October 2007, not even completing two years in the job.

He couldn't have taken on a more difficult challenge as Darlo are currently rock bottom of League Two, without a win all season, having picked up two draws from 11 games, scoring just four goals in the process.

They lost a number of players over the close season period, with the likes of Neil Austin, Pawel Abbott, Rob Purdie and Ricky Ravenhill moving on, while no fewer than 12 free transfers came into the club, but influential captain Steve Foster was one of the loyal few to remain.

Experienced strikers Dean Windass and Lee Thorpe came in, but the goals haven't flowed for either, while veteran goalkeeper Russell Hoult has also joined on loan and made four appearances to date.

Staunton has already claimed he is looking to bring players into the squad, but it is very doubtful that will be in time for Saturday's clash.

TEAM NEWS

Daggers: Daggers picked up two slight knocks to Stuart Thurgood and Wes Thomas at Hereford, but both trained during the week.

Striker Mark Nwokeji is nearing his return to full fitness, but Saturday will be too soon for him.

Darlington: Veteran full back Paul Arnison has shaken off his injury, while young winger Josh Grays is also fit again.

Loan signings Jamie Devitt and Tony Kane are also back from injury, giving Staunton options to choose from.

WE'VE MET BEFORE

Daggers have a poor record against Darlington, especially on home soil, where they are yet to even score against their opponents.

Last season, Pawel Abbott's second half strike sealed the victory, while in the 2007/08 season, John Still's side were humbled 3-0.

In fact, the only time Daggers have beaten Darlo, was the famous trip on April 26, 2008, as the come-from-behind 3-2 success sealed the club's future as a Football League club.

Last season, Daggers were beaten 3-0 on their travels, meaning they have won one and lost three of their four matches so far.

ONE TO WATCH

Kevin Gall - not prolific by any means, but with two goals to his name, has the honour of being Darlington's leading scorer so far this season

Failed to score in three loans spells at different clubs last year but did manage almost 30 goals in a three-year spell at Yeovil, so will be hoping to reignite some goalscoring move after making his move to Darlo permanent.

FROM THE DUGOUT

"Our main objective is survival and we're not under any illusions that it's going to be easy," said new Darlington manager Steve Staunton.

"It's going to be a difficult job but we feel confident that with our contacts in the game and our knowledge of players that we'll get one or two players in that will hopefully benefit the club.

"All of the squad want to do their best and hopefully we can help them along the way and if we can add one or two as well then it will boost everybody.

PREDICTION

Daggers to get back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory.

Can Daggers emerge victorious against Darlington? Email: mike.simmonds@archant.co.uk

The Post is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Post_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road.

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