Michael Nelson has a warning for his Blyth Spartans players ahead of facing Darlington

Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson has warned his players against “getting caught up in the emotion” when they face North East rivals Darlington on Saturday.

By Mark Carruthers
Friday, 10th September 2021, 7:05 pm
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 7:06 pm
Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson.
Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson.

Former Spartans boss Alun Armstrong will return to Croft Park with his Quakers side still looking for their first point after they suffered defeats in their first three games of the National League North season.

The fixture also sees a number of Spartans players preparing to face their former employees after Dan Maguire, Michael Liddle, Sean Reid and Jordan Watson all returned to the club from Darlington this summer.

With emotions expected to run high, Nelson has called for his squad for focus on their own game as they look to continue their promising start to the season, rather than being distracted by other factors.

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He told The News Post Leader: “I think the main focus has to just be on the game itself.

“Some players have connections to the manager and to Darlington as a club, so we need to keep them focused and concentrated on what we have done so far for our football club.

“We need to stick to the plan and philosophy that has allowed us to make a solid start, not get caught up in the emotions and do the job they asked of them.

“We still want the drive to prove a few things, but that has to be kept under control and it can’t be allowed to deviate from what we want to do and that is to put in a good performance and win the game.”

Nelson has added goalkeeper Alex Curran to his squad on a permanent basis ahead of the game.

The stopper featured throughout pre-season and made a number of outstanding saves in the win over Middlesbrough under-23s.

He kept a clean sheet on his National League North debut against Brackley Town last weekend and has now put pen to paper on a contract at Croft Park.

Nelson believes his signing means he is now covered all over the pitch as his squad looks to cope with a long season in non-league’s second tier.

He said: “He came in and played on Saturday while Alex Mitchell attended the birth of his first child and we’ve managed to put a permanent deal together to bring him on board.

“We have been able to do this deal due to the great attendances we’ve had over the three home games – bringing in some valuable revenue to help build the squad.

“Alex will now provide very good competition in what was probably the only position in the team where we were lacking competition.”