ATKINS HOPES FOR CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH

Danny Holland (second from right) is congratulated after scoring against Ilkeston on Saturday. Photo by Rob Stephenson.
Danny Holland (second from right) is congratulated after scoring against Ilkeston on Saturday. Photo by Rob Stephenson.

Matlock boss Mark Atkins is hoping that four injury doubts recover in time for Saturday when Stafford Rangers visit the Autoworld Arena.

With striker Shaun Tuton beginning a three-match ban after his red card against Skelmersdale United a fortnight ago, Atkins will be hoping that Tuton’s current striking partner Danny Holland will be ready in time after suffering from memory loss in last weekend’s 3-1 derby win at Ilkeston.

Holland scored the Gladiators’ opener which was added to by David Haggerty’s first competitive Matlock goal and one from Tuton as all of the goals came before half-time at the New Manor Ground.

Atkins said: “Danny wasn’t feeling well at half-time after a collision with the Ilkeston goalkeeper, plus he’d got a dead leg.

“He stayed on as long as he could but we really needed to get him off. After the match he couldn’t remember anything about the game,” Atkins explained.

Holland sat out the friendly against Minnesota which the Americans won 3-0 on Monday night, as did Micky Harcourt, Oscar Radford and James Ashmore, who also picked up knocks last weekend.

Speaking on Tuesday, Atkins added: “Had we been playing tonight then none of the four would have been fit, so we’ll have to see how they are for Saturday.”

Losing Tuton for three matches is a blow the Gladiators could well have done without as the former Teversal and Belper Town striker has built up a healthy partnership with Holland.

Matlock have scored 13 goals in their last five league outings and Tuton has scored eight and Holland four of them.

“It’s one of those things,” Atkins continued.

“I think we’re all agreed that the sending off was harsh - it’s not having him sent off in the game that’s the problem but the three-match ban is, and it’s frustrating because Shaun and Danny have been working well together. It now gives Daryll Thomas the chance to stake his claim.”

Atkins explained the reasoning behind Matlock not going full tilt in the second-half after building their two goal advantage.

“We started really well and took control and took our chances,” he said.

“We gave a sloppy goal away but then showed a great reaction to make it 3-1. With lads carrying knocks we decided that the three points were the most important thing on the day, so we shut up shop, stopped Ilkeston from playing and looked comfortable.

“Ilkeston had just the one chance and I never thought we’d relinquish our lead.”

Matlock stood in eighth place after Tuesday night’s games and know that if they are to maintain their play-off push, they need full points against struggling Rangers and at Stamford on Tuesday night.

Atkins added: “Stafford are fighting for their lives and will feel there’s time left for them to pull away from trouble.”

“We know we’ll be in for a tough game as we will when we play at Stamford as in the abandoned game down there they proved that they’re a tough nut to crack.

“For us it’s a matter of being strong as we’ve been this past few games. There’s no easy games, we’ve got to take one at a time and try and do the business each time.”