Barnet Mad previews tomorrow's League Two match at UnderhillThis Saturday, Barnet entertain Darlington at Underhill in a League Two match. Darlington have made a disastrous start to the campaign this season and are currently bottom with just 5 points from 13 matches and are five points from safety. Away from home, the Quakers have taken just one point. However, last Saturday, the Quakers finally won their first game of the season, defeating Shrewsbury 2-1 at home.
Both the scorers for Darlington last weekend were loan players, but one of them, Jamie Devitt, has left and gone on loan to, ironically, Shrewsbury. The other scorer was Simon Thomas, who is on loan from Crystal Palace.
Darlington have also had a change of manager. Colin Todd was appointed in the summer, but he resigned earlier this month after Darlington had gone 11 games this season without a win. His replacement is the former Republic of Ireland boss, Steve Staunton.
There are only two players left in the Darlington squad who were regulars last season. These are defenders, Stephen Foster and Ian Miller. The rest of the squad had to be put together with few resources. The team is a mixture of youth and experience with former Bradford City defenders, Paul Arnison and Mark Bower bringing their knowhow to the team. In midfield, the Quakers have signed former MK Dons player Gary Smith and the experienced Chris Lumsden from Carlisle. Up front, Darlington have veteran strikers, Lee Thorpe and Noel Whelan. Two experienced players who have been in the side in recent weeks, keeper, Russell Hoult and winger, Kevin Gall have now left the club along with midfield player, Tony Kane who has returned to Carlisle United.
This week, Darlington signed four players. Young striker, James Collins arrived on a three month loan deal from Aston Villa and midfield player, David Davis joined on loan from Wolves. The Quakers have also signed former Hereford and Luton defender, Richard Jackson and French striker, Mor Diop on short term deals.
Barnet have a good record against Darlington at Underhill, winning six successive matches between 1997 and 2007. However, the Quakers have fared better the last couple of years. In 2007/08, the match ended goalless and last season, Darlington grabbed a 1-0 win.
Barnet should have a full squad to choose from tomorrow with both right backs, Joe Devera and Ryan O'Neill expected to be fit. Influential midfield player, Mark Hughes returns after missing the game at Burton though suspension.
Darlington could give débuts to Collins and Davis, but French striker, Diop is out with a muscle strain, while experienced striker, Noel Whelan has a hamstring injury. Goalkeepers, David Knight and Nick Liversedge will be competing to replace Hoult.
After two straight away defeats, the Bees will be keen to get back on track. Barnet's home record this season has been excellent and they are unbeaten at Underhill in the league this season. The Quakers will be hoping that their new players will bed in quickly and that the loss of Gall, Devitt and Hoult this week won't affect the team too much. Obviously, barnet will be clear favourites to win tomorrow against the league's bottom club and it would be sod's law that Darlington win their first away match of the season while inflicting a first defeat on the Bees.
Despite this, Barnet mad predicts a 3-1 win tomorrow for Barnet and a return to winning ways for the Bees and to accurate predictions from Barnet Mad!!