Following the Bulls hard working victory at Rushall Olympic in gale force winds on Tuesday, Paul Caddis’ side now travel up to the North East to take on struggling Darlington.

The Quakers match against Scunthorpe United was called off just minutes ahead of kick-off in midweek, so no doubt Hereford will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast in case Blackwell Meadows is hit by further rainfall this week.

From this distance hard to be fully certain just what has gone so wrong so quickly for the County Durham club. For sure, senior players departed in the summer (eg Lambert second highest scorer and Player of the Year Purver) and weren’t properly replaced. The main goal scorer wasn’t finding the net this term and was sold to fund a bigger name striker (Asante) who remains injured. The remaining senior players are often described as being too senior.

Darlo unluckily started the season with a run of games against the league’s strongest opponents (including us). They amassed only 6 points from the 27 possible which spelt the end for manager Alun Armstrong whose side finished the previous season badly. Armstrong had spent the 23/24 budget including the £162k raised by supporters.

Replacement Josh Gowling was the wrong man at the wrong time. The appointment was just not a good fit though he may simply have been the best candidate who applied. It’s very hard for an inexperienced manager to turn around a losing squad with no money in an unfamiliar location. As Darlo fans pointed out, Gowling’s team did host 5 of the struggling clubs at home and couldn’t beat any of them. They were also unimpressed with his reliance on analytics and a plethora of short-term inexperienced loanees.

And now its Steve Watson’s turn. The former Premier League performer is in his fourth managerial role though he is wisely only contracted until the end of the season. Being fan owned, having to pay at least two managers maybe three (Gowlings contract status is unclear) will really hurt the bank balance. The begging bowl has gone out again to fans to provide another £30,000 by January 19. £21,000 was raised with 6 days left. Their first new arrival is Scott Barrow, a 35-year-old left back from York.

With a third manager in charge, having used 33 players, with your top scorer only on 3 goals by mid-January is hardly a recipe for success. Add in the least number of goals scored (18) and second worst defence in the division (51) to really rub in the gloom. Attendances have shrunk though only by 11 per cent to a still reasonable 1370.

Darlington have the worst home record in the division with just one win (over Chester) plus 7 draws. Even Bishops Stortford have secured more points at home. But we have literally been here before. The County Durham side were also on a dismal run last season until a very meek Bulls side turned up and were turned over 3-0. We have yet to win at Darlington as Hereford fc and having Ian “no win” Sandford in the Radio Hereford commentary team is unlikely to boost our chances. A reminder that in Ian’s last ten commentaries, he’s seen two goalless draws and eight defeats. Surely his run has to change soon?

If you are travelling to the game, admission is £15 adults and £11 concessions to stand (an extra £2 for a seat). Car parking is an extra fiver and being out of town, there aren’t many alternatives to leave your vehicle. Tickets can be pre-bought but it’s not really necessary.

Match Tickets – YOURCLUB (

Full match commentary, as always, on BBC Hereford & Worcester or Radio Hereford FC.

Simon Wright

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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