Setting The Scene
Gateshead travel to local rivals Darlington in the first derby fixture of the season on Wednesday evening (7:45pm kick-off).
The Heed come into the fixture on the back of a 0-0 draw against Southport in the season opener on Saturday afternoon, leaving them sitting 14th in the National League North Table.
Eight players made their competitive Gateshead debuts with Brad James, Alex Nicholson, Toby Lees, Connor Oliver, Liam Agnew, Danny Greenfield and Paul Blackett all starting in the goalless draw, while Joshua Kayode appeared as a second-half substitute.
The Quakers however fared worse off in their first fixture, falling to a 3-1 defeat against newly promoted Farsley Celtic in Alun Armstrong’s first competitive game as manager.
Three first-half goals consigned Darlington to defeat in West Yorkshire, with Adam Campbell’s goal midway through the second half proving to be a consolation.
Jordan Preston (knee) is nearing a return to fitness but Wednesday’s game will prove too soon for his comeback, although Mike Williamson has a fully fit squad to choose from otherwise.
What We're Saying
Speaking to gateshead-fc.com on Tuesday afternoon, assistant manager Ian Watson admitted he couldn’t wait for the first derby of the season, saying: “I’m really excited, I think all the boys are as well.
“We’re fully aware Darlington will have great support as they always do, we’re hoping to take a lot of support along as well so the atmosphere should be brilliant.
“They’re a good footballing side, we watched their game back from Saturday. They probably had a bad 20 minutes but obviously we know Alun [Armstrong] really well.
“They’ll be a good side on a good surface, and they’ll be eager to get off to a good start at home.”
What They’re Saying
“Saturday was a bit of a shock to the system for everyone,” Darlington midfielder Will Hatfield told darlingtonfc.co.uk.
“We had a positive pre-season, played some really good football and even defended well so Saturday came as a shock.
“We’ve got Wednesday to look forward to now so looking forward to turning it around and getting everyone positive again.
“We obviously want to make a good impression in our first league game at home and we’re really looking forward to putting things right.”
Segregation will be in place at Blackwell Meadows. Darlington fans must enter the ground via the turnstiles at the Tin Shed end of the ground as usual, while the turnstile for Gateshead fans is to the right of the clubhouse -- follow the "Away fans" signs.
Tickets are available in on the gate on Wednesday evening, and are priced as follows:
Concession (Senior/Student/Forces/Young Adults/Disabled) £10.00*
Juniors – Under-18: £5.00
Children – Under-11: Free of charge
(must be accompanied by an adult, maximum of three children per adult)
*Over 63’s as of September 1 2019, young adults (aged 18-21), full time students (student card required), registered disabled persons (carers are admitted for free), armed forces personnel.
£2 upgrade to seating (Adults/Concessions/Juniors), under 11’s free.
Last Time We Met
The last time Gateshead met Darlington in a competitive fixture was in January 2012 at the Darlington Arena.
Jon Shaw netted in injury-time to secure a 1-0 win for the Heed when it seemed certain the game was heading towards a goalless draw to earn the visitors the bragging rights.
The most notable meeting of the two sides in recent times came in the FA Trophy semi-finals in March 2011, with Darlington going on to lift the trophy after prevailing via a 3-2 aggregate scoreline as over 5,000 fans attended the second leg at the International Stadium.