AN ANKLE operation means there will be no reunion with old boy Pawel Abbott when Town visit Darlington tonight.
But while the former Poland Under 21 striker recovers from the latest in a line of injuries, Stan Ternent’s team could find themselves tackling a Liechtenstein international in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
For Dave Penney’s League II squad includes midfielder Franz Burgmeier, who was first spotted by a seven-year-old!
That was when he played against England at Old Trafford in 2003, with Darlington chairman George Houghton’s grandson Max saying Burgmeier reminded him of Michael Essien.
Another Quakers board member David Jones carried out some research into the player and kept tabs on his progress.
And Darlington made their move in the close-season once Basel’s former Tottenham coach Christian Gross made it clear that Burgmeier had no future at the Swiss club.
There was interest from French outfit Metz and a couple of other Swiss sides, but Darlington offered the 26-year-old a trial and quickly made a concrete offer.
“The lifestyle is different from Switzerland but the people have been very friendly and the players are really helping me,” explains Burgmeier, who appeared in his country’s latest clashes with Germany and Azerbaijan and is in the squad for Saturday’s meeting with Wales.
“I like the British lifestyle. They are nice people, they don’t worry too much about things.”
Abbott joined Darlington in a £100,000 transfer from Swansea City the close-season before last.
The 26-year-old former Preston North End and Bury player hit nine goals in just 17 starts last season, indicating his value when fit.
Unfortunately availability has been a problem, with his ruptured ankle ligaments following knee, hamstring and Achilles injuries.
“The ankle is the worst of the lot, but at least there is a definite time scale to it,” he said. “The surgeons have seen a lot of injuries like it and we know it is a three-month recovery period.
“Maybe from some of the other injuries I tried to come back a bit too soon. But when it’s one thing after another you wonder if it could be career threatening.
“But this one isn’t and I will come back stronger than ever. It’s times like this that you realise how much you miss the game. It’s very frustrating, because I just want to play.”
Former Doncaster boss Penney, whose side are 10th in League I after Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Shrewsbury Town, is expected to make changes tonight, particularly since the club have disbanded their reserve team.
It’s predicted former Sheffield Wednesday man Adam Proudlock and ex-Doncaster player Gregg Blundell will be the frontline pairing.
And skipper Steve Foster is likely to be rested, with Ian Miller taking his place in the centre of defence and former Luton and Notts County man Alan White the armband.