Match Preview - Darlington v Wealdstone
Darlington v Wealdstone FA Trophy 5th Round Blackwell Meadows
Saturday 6th February, 3:00pm kick-off
HOW TO WATCH Due to the current lockdown imposed by UK government, this fixture is permitted to be played behind closed doors. Supporters can purchase a streaming pass to the fixture HERE.
THE CONTEXT There has been big news out of both sides this week with Wealdstone's manager Dean Brennan leaving the club and Darlington disclosing that they have voted to void the National League North season. They currently sit 19th in the National League North but disposed of National League opposition in the last round after they beat Weymouth away from home; AFC Telford United and City of Liverpool also fell to the Quakers on their run to the last 16. Wealdstone have beaten the leaders of the National League North in Gloucester City and produced an emphatic 4-3 comeback win against Eastleigh in the 3rd Round to get this far.
TEAM NEWS Stuart Maynard steps into the hotseat for the first time and is boosted by the loan signings of George Langston from Watford, Joseph Olowu from Arsenal, Deshane Dalling from QPR and popular goalkeeper Harry Isted from Luton Town who makes his return to the Stones on a third loan spell from the Hatters. Danny Parish could be in the squad after missing out since the start of December with a hamstring injury. Connor Stevens and Ross Lafayette could both feature before the end of the month. Danny Green will miss the clash after picking up a suspension and Stuart Moore, Josh Debayo, Maxim Kouogun, Mo Diallo and Rob Swaine all left the club this week.
FORM GUIDE Stones: Altrincham (A) 2-0 L Aldershot Town (H) 3-4 L (Lewis, Dyer, Emmanuel) Gloucester City (H) 3-1 W (Dyer, Emmanuel, Green) Hartlepool United (A) 3-1 L (Mendy) Maidenhead United (A) 4-0 L
Darlington: Weymouth (A) 0-1 W (Hatfield) Farsley Celtic (A) 1-0 L Brackley Town (A) 2-0 L Blyth Spartans (H) 6-0 W (Sousa, Campbell, Rivers, O'Neill 2, Maguire) Spennymoor Town (H) 0-0 D
WHO TO WATCH FOR? Will Hatfield: Darlo skipper Will Hatfield's scored the winner in the club's 1-0 win over Weymouth in the last round, which was also the club's last competitive game. The midfielder had two distinguished spells at Accrington Stanley and FC Halifax Town before moving to Guiseley in 2015 where he was a figurehead in the Lions midfield as they enjoyed their highest spell in the club's history in the National League. He won a hat-trick of awards at the Darlington end of season awards for 2019/20 and will be a key figure in how Darlington approach and want to control Saturday's tie.
Wealdstone and Darlington have never met in a competitive fixture before.
Preview by Chris Woods