Form to decide Wembley line-up - Darlington boss Cooper

Mark Cooper
Cooper wants his players to focus on league matters

Darlington boss Mark Cooper has told his players their performances must improve if they want to be involved in May's FA Trophy final at Wembley.

The Quakers booked their place with a semi-final win against Gateshead but followed that with Saturday's 1-0 home league defeat by strugglers Altrincham.

"I said to them after that that a few were playing themselves out of the team," Cooper told BBC Tees.

"They have to be playing well to be considered and a few aren't."

The defeat dented Darlington's hopes of reaching the play-offs, although mathematically the opportunity remains for Cooper and his players, despite currently sitting 17 points short of the top-five.

"We'll take every game one at a time, but you'd have to say it's a big ask," Cooper added.

"We've still got 10 games, 30 points to play for, and a lot of players playing for their futures."

Darlington travel to Grimsby on Tuesday in Blue Square Bet Premier with just a point separating the two sides.