Reality check for Quakers as captain misses matches for trip to Las Vegas (From The Advertiser Series)
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Reality check for Quakers as captain misses matches for trip to Las Vegas
Darlington will be without captain Gary Brown for this evening's game at Guisborough Town as the harsh reality of being in the Northern League kicks in.
The centre-back has been a key player during Quakers' four games so far, but it's not injury or suspension that has ruled out Brown - he is unavailable as he's headed to Las Vegas for a holiday.
The trip was booked when the 25-year-old was with Durham City last season, but says he would rather aim to continue the team's fine start to the season than be on the Strip.
"I wish I wasn't going, without a doubt," he said, before jetting off yesterday.
"It's me and a couple of mates, but, to be honest, if I could change the time or someone else could go instead of me I'd do it at the drop of a hat.
"I'm absolutely gutted and it's just my luck because I've missed games in the past with other teams I've been at.
"When the Spennymoor game got called off I thought champion, but then the Consett match was arranged so I'm devastated to be missing three games.
"I'll definitely be keeping in touch with what's going on. I'll be eight hours behind, but I should be up and about by the time the matches have kicked off."
Brown's aggression and will to win is clear while he has been many supporters' most outstanding player so far.
Some have drawn comparisons with former Darlington ace Kevan Smith, who was also a captain and centre-back during the club's Conference and Division Four title-winning seasons.
He said: "Anybody will tell you that off the pitch I'm placid and quiet, but when I cross the white line my determination takes over. I just love to win. Anything, you name it, the coin toss, I just love to win.
"One of my friends does commentary on Sunderland matches for hospital radio. He'd heard about this comparison with Kevan Smith and he went in the press room at the Stadium of Light and the first person he saw was Kevan Smith!
"He told him what people had been saying, and Kevan Smith said 'why, is he useless as well?'
"I didn't know him as a player, I was a bit young when he played, but it's a privilege to be compared to any past Darlington player."
Replacing Brown is likely to be Matthew Grieve, a former Ashington defender who signed last week for Quakers who welcome back David Dowson tonight.
The striker missed the last two games due to work commitments.