Magpies could gain from block on Darlo

Dale Whitham (left) celebrates after scoring against Nuneaton Town (photo: Josh Vosper)
Dale Whitham (left) celebrates after scoring against Nuneaton Town (photo: Josh Vosper)
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Chorley’s play-off hopes have been handed a boost by reason of Darlington being barred from competing in the end-of-season knockout.

The National League say that Darlo’s ground does not meet the criteria needed for the play-offs.

Their Blackwell Meadows home, which they moved to during the season, does not have 500 covered seats.

Darlo are fifth in National League North – that the last play-off slot – and one place above Chorley on goal difference.

A statement on Darlo’s website read: “The requirement to have 500 covered seats across two stands as at 31 March, 2017, came about as a result of a change to the Ground Grading rules in May 2016, which was not picked up at the time of the development of Blackwell Meadows.

“The rules prior to May 2016 allowed temporary seating to be used for the play-offs as long as the club could show that it had obtained planning permission and had detailed plans to construct a permanent seated stand – which we of course do.

“This change in the requirement for permanent covered seating was only brought to the board’s attention in the past couple of months.

“By the time the board was fully aware of the requirement, it was not able to act because of the timescales 
involved and the lack of funds.”

If Darlo’s appeal fails and they were to finish in the top five, the club in sixth place would replace them in the play-offs.

Chorley host Worcester City at Victory Park today (3pm), then go to Stalybridge Celtic on Easter Monday.

In their last outing, a goal from Dale Whitham earned Matt Jansen’s men a 1-1 draw at Nuneaton.