While The Celts’ away form has been one of the strongest in the league, with all four or our wins coming away from The Citadel, Clayton Donaldson has been ruing his side’s bad luck and some questionable refereeing decisions on home turf.

“We’ve been unlucky at home,” he said. “Our home form has been up and down. Some unlucky breaks and questionable decision-making from officials hasn’t helped – we’ve certainly been a victim of that this season.

“We always want to win our home fixtures and make The Citadel a fortress where other teams fear to come.

“We’ve got back-to-back important – but tough – home games coming up against Darlington and Boston and we’re going in to each one wanting the three points just as we do every game,” said Clayton. “Once we’re able to get that first home win I am sure other victories will follow. We are going into Saturday’s game with confidence.”

Clayton Donaldson on the attack. Photo: John McEvoy

Darlington on Saturday will bring its own challenges. Last month the Quakers brought in a new management team of Josh Gowling and Danny Rose. Gowling had been boss at National League North rivals Hereford until his departure at Edgar Street by mutual consent back in February.

Despite the Quakers’ record of one win in 14 league games this season, the gaffer is prepared for a tough game.

“It won’t be easy and we have to go into the game respecting them. Darlington have a new manager with his own style of playing. They’ll be looking to turn a corner.”

Clayton said the boys were ‘desperately unlucky’ not to take all three points from Warrington last Tuesday, when they were only denied a win by a 95th-minute equaliser. “The boys were devastated after Warrington, we deserved the three points, but performance-wise we got the reaction I was looking for after the Brackley defeat.

“Unfortunately against Alfreton the start killed us. We were two down after eight minutes. We had trained hard and we knew what to expect from them as a team, but we made mistakes. We grew into the game and matched them after the slow start.

“When we start well we tend to get good results and we have to learn to get tighter to them and be harder to beat. It’s something we’ll be working hard on in training this week and one of the areas we will be looking to improve.”

Clayton said the last few games have seen him having to chop and change his side due to a spate of injuries and suspensions. “You’d always prefer to play a settled side week in, week out but that’s just not been possible.  It’s been hard to find that consistency but we can’t use that as an excuse.

“We’ve recently brought in five players on loan and we have a lot of games coming up so we will have to rotate the squad. We’ve got missing players coming back into the squad now, and the new arrivals have been like a breath of fresh air and I have been impressed with every single one of them.

“They’re a smashing bunch of lads who are each bringing something to the club, and we have a good balance of experienced and younger players in the squad, which is important.”

Farsley Celtic entertain Darlington at the Citadel on Saturday, 4 November 2023. Kick off is 3pm and tickets can be bought in advance here.