IT'S not often that positives can be taken from a 7-1 drubbing, but Darwen manager Stephen Mullen believes it was a blessing in disguise.

Despite taking the lead against Ashton in their North West Counties Second Division game a fortnight ago, they suffered their worst defeat of the season.

However, since then, their fortunes have taken a dramatic upturn.

"Since that drubbing, I've got rid of a few players, brought in new faces and everything's starting to settle down now," Mullen said.

"In a way that defeat was a good thing because it shook us up and made us realise that something had to be done.

"The players we've brought in are more disciplined and they're doing what we ask of them."

Darwen have won two of their last three games and will be looking for three more points when they entertain Flixton tomorrow.

Mullen added: "We want to get consistency, then hopefully results will come with that.

"Barring injuries, we should be able to field the same starting 11 for the second consecutive game for the first time this season."

NELSON manager Dave Hall is on the verge of re-uniting 14-goal strike partnership Craig Bradshaw and Paul Barrett.

Top scorer Bradshaw is back in training after a thigh injury and Barrett has returned after a brief, inactive spell at Chorley.

But Hall is in no hurry to make changes after Neil Chapman and Robert Grimes both found the target in last Saturday's 4-0 win at Castleton Gabriels.

It lifted them to fourth in North West Counties Division Two and Hall is hoping for a repeat of the first half display at home to Oldham Town tomorrow.

He said: "The first half was as good as we've played for a while.

"In the second half we started doing silly things but it was our fourth clean sheet in the league and if we're scoring at the other end, great."

Hall expects to name an unchanged side for tomorrow.

"The lads believe in themselves and we've got good spirit there again.

"I felt we had one or two players who had begun to accept defeat before they had even gone out to play and it's very difficult to motivate people in that frame of mind."

"I understand they are a physical side but we just want to concentrate on what we're going to do on the day and not worry about them,"