Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Walshaw's Eagerly Awaiting Boro Test

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Walshaw's Eagerly Awaiting Boro Test

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Brown

IT comes too soon for the 'Little Fella' and too late for Didier Digard - but Darlington's new goal hero James Walshaw is relishing today's pre-season friendly against Middlesbrough.

And he's already started bonding with team-mates over a sing-song and a rollercoaster ride.

The 27-year-old has joined the Quakers from Conference North side Guiseley, and opened his account with a brace in Wednesday's warm-up game at Brackley Town. That concluded a mini-tour of the south of England which also featured a trip to Thorpe Park, new signings introducing themselves to the squad with a song and - amid injuries to eight firstteam seniors - the appearance of one Mark Cooper against Staines Town.

"The 42-year-old apprentice still showed some of the younger lads how to keep the ball and pass," said the manager himself, who was last night trying to land Northampton Town striker Tadhg Purcell on loan, and Walshaw agreed.

"I thought that was brilliant," he said. "He's still a decent player and did really well, and it created a lot of banter with the lads as well.

"It was nice for me to get a couple of goals against Brackley as well. I've been pleasantly surprised with how I've settled into things. I think my fitness levels have been OK.

"It's going to be a difficult game (against Boro), they'll come and keep the ball. It'll be a fitness exercise for us in terms of chasing the ball.

"When we do get it we have to look after it and show a bit of quality. "But I'm looking forward to it, there should be a decent crowd and it should be a good game for the fans. It's another good exercise for us in terms of our overall build-up to the start of the season."

And for good or bad, it means Darlington won't have to face Juninho, still affectionately known as the 'Little Fella'' on Teesside.

The Brazilian midfielder will play a guest cameo role in Boro's friendly against PSV Eindhoven next Friday, when he could take the place of Digard. …

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