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Darlington Football Club

Ray Simpson / 5th August 2016

MG: "We must be ready to push on again."

MG: "We must be ready to push on again."

The big kick off is nearly here, and here's the website preview of our opening Vanarama National Lea...

The big kick off is nearly here, and here's the website preview of our opening Vanarama National League North game at Altrincham.

Martin Gray

The 2016/2017 season gets under way for the Quakers away to Altrincham and manager Martin Gray says that Quakers must get off to a good start.

After securing a third promotion in four seasons in April, Darlington now go again with the new campaign in the Vanarama National North.

 

“It’s a tough challenge, but it’s a challenge that we’re all looking forward to,” said MG. “The players will give everything, they must put a shift in. If we lose, it won’t be because they haven’t given everything.

“The players know that they must be workmanlike, be hard to beat, and show great discipline. The standard in this league is higher, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re above where we’ve come from, and be ready to push on again.”

The new division will see the club face many teams that Quakers have met before, one such side are opening day opponents Altrincham.

“As well as Altrincham, there are Boston, Kidderminster, Stockport, FC United and Salford for instance. We must get off to a good start, and maintain our high standards from day one.

“Altrincham is a really tough start, and we’re under no illusions that it will be a hard game. But we will go there with a game plan, and play to our strengths.

“When we were in the EvoStik, there were maybe two or three teams that could win the title. This season, I think there are eight or ten teams who can win the league. I don’t think anyone will do what we did last year, winning the league with 104 points. It will go right down to the wire.”

Altrincham were relegated from the Vanarama National last year after finishing third bottom of the division having spent just two campaigns in it.

[caption id="attachment_24331" align="alignnone" width="300"]Altrincham's ground Altrincham's ground[/caption]

Their last seven seasons:

 

2015-16 National League Premier: played 46, points 44, finishing position 22nd

2014-15 National League Premier: played 46, points 56, 17th

2013-14 National League North: played 42, points 81, 3rd

2012-13 National League North: played 42, points 80, 4th

2011-12 National League North: played 42, points 61, 8th

2010-11 National League Premier: played 46, points 44, 22nd

2009-10 National League Premier: played 44, points 54, 14th

 

The two sides last met during the 2010/11 campaign following the Quakers relegation the previous year from League Two. Despite Altrincham being relegated that year they managed to take four points from Darlington in the two league games. The sides held each other to a 2-2 draw in August, before Altrincham took all the points from the Arena in the reverse fixture with a 1-0 win.

 

Altrincham’s squad: Harry Cain, Callum Charlton, John Cyrus, Andrew Dawber, Shaun Densmore, Alan Goodall, Tom Hannigan, Billy Hasler-Cregg, Danny Hattersley, Sam Heathcote, Craig Hobson, Charlie Joyce, James Lawrie, David Lynch, Jamie Menagh, Sean Miller, Jake Moult, Sam Patterson, Callum Preston, Damian Reeves, Simon Richman

 

MG has been busy over the summer with new signings Jordan Watson, Josh Gillies, Lewis Nightingale, Liam Marrs and Mark Beck all available for selection. However, Chris Hunter is suspended for the first two games following a suspension picked up last season.

Squad: Jameson, Bell, Marrs, Burgess, Brown, Watson, Galbraith, Nowakowski, Mitchell, Scott, Turnbull, Nightingale, Thompson, Portas, Purewal, Cartman, Gaskell, Gillies, Hardy, Beck

 

Kick off on Saturday is 3:00pm, updates on the game will be made from the club's Facebook, Twitter, Mobile App and Website. Live Commentary will be broadcast by Darlo Fans Radio from 2:50pm