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Peterborough Manager Barry Fry
"I'm a Wembley nut!"
 real 28k

Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Darlo feeling the strain
Marco Gabbiadini
Marco Gabbiadini celebrates scoring another crucial goal
Darlington v Peterborough

Darlington boss David Hodgson admits his side are feeling the pressure as they prepare for Friday's Division Three Play-Off final showdown against Peterborough at Wembley.

After occupying an automatic promotion slot for three months, the Quakers blew an eight-point gap and slumped into the play-offs on Easter Monday.

But back-to-back victories over north-east rivals Hartlepool in the semi-final lifted the spirits of the Feethams camp.

Big game

However in the run up to the big game questions have been raised about the future of 28-goal hitman Marco Gabbiadini.

Marco Gabbiadini
Marco Gabbiadini: Questions raised over his future
Hodgson revealed yesterday's training session was halted after couple of players lost their cool.

He said: "It was the first time we've seen a little bit of nitty gritty and a little bit of aggravation between one or two. So we cut it short a little bit and will start afresh for the last session.

"The truth is that they're up for it because we fell short in the ultimate week of the season. The good thing was we met Hartlepool and it lifted us immediately. And they're focused on simply getting us out of the division."

But the boss insists he is pleased his side are on edge. He said: "They're getting anxious and to be honest, I'm glad it's like that. There's a fear factor there as well, and I think that's a good thing to have."


Posh manager Barry Fry reckons Darlington would have held onto their automatic promotion berth if the Feethams pitch had not deteriorated into something resembling a World War One battlefield.

Fry said: "Darlington were the favourites from day one to win the league, and rightly so. The reason why they have not gone up is the terrible state of the pitch.

"It was 4-2 at our place and 2-0 up there. So it's 4-4 and what a wonderful place to decide it. Wembley is a wonderful place and it is a marvellous occasion for players, their families and the fans."

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