The management team and players have had securing the Celts’ home win of the season as their goal during training this week – and the gaffer is calling on the fans to get behind the boys at The Citadel.

“The fans have always been brilliant this season, wherever we’ve been playing, home or away,” said Clayton. “You can always hear them and that means a lot to the players and it makes a difference.

“It’d be great if they could be that extra man tomorrow, turn out and give us that extra push. These are the times when we need that support.

“Once we’re able to get that first home win I am sure other victories will follow,” Clayon added. “We are going into the game with confidence.”

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 has been left to rue his side’s bad luck and some questionable refereeing decisions on home turf.

“We’ve been unlucky at home,” he said. “Our 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. 

Darlington will bring their 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,” said Clayton. “Darlington have a new manager with his own style of playing. They’ll be looking to turn a corner.”

Read Clayton Donaldson’s thoughts in our match day programme, just £3 at the ground.

Team news

The Celts have had a number of injuries and suspensions to contend with in recent weeks.

Long-term injury concerns continue to be an issue in defence. Jack Leckie, who is with the Celts on a season-long loan from Hull, is out until next month and Lewis Turner recently underwent surgery to try remedy his long-term injury problems.

Clayton Donaldson will assess other knocks and injuries ahead of the game, but the Celts have been boosted by five new loan signings in recent weeks as they strengthen their squad ahead of a hectic period of league and cup games in the run up to Christmas.

How are Darlington faring?

The Quakers have picked up eight points from their first fourteen outings this term and lie adrift at the bottom of the table, nine points from safety.
Their only win of the season came – impressively – at Alfreton in August. Since then draws against South Shields, Boston, Gloucester, Brackley and Blyth have added to their points tally. They have now gone nine League games on the bounce since that lone victory at The Impact Arena and have lost four of their last five.
There is no doubt though that Darlington will be determined opponents on Saturday as their new management team will be keen to kick-start a climb up the league with a win at The Citadel.

Last time we played Darlington

Last time we played Darlington at The Citadel was back on a chilly Tuesday in March and The Celts secured an impressive 3-1 win against the promotion chasers. A first-half Theo Williams brace set the Celts on their way, and whilst Alex Purver gave the visitors hope, Chris Atkinson sealed all three points for his side. Check out the match report here.

Tickets and supporter information

Kick off is 3pm and tickets can be bought in advance here, or pay on the gate. More supporters’ information for Saturday’s match can be found here.