Hopes Matlock boss Mark Atkins might have had of rotating his squad for the double header with county rivals Ilkeston this week look to have been dashed as injuries yet again bite into his squad.
The Gladiators play host to the Robins at the Reynolds Stadium in the league on Saturday before the two teams do battle in the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final at Chesterfield’s Pro-Act Stadium on Tuesday night.
Full-back Micky Harcourt was already a major doubt with a groin injury which forced him off in only the 12th minute of Matlock’s 3-0 defeat at Witton Albion on Saturday.
And now another defender has been definitely ruled out as Laurence Gaughan was stretchered off with hamstring trouble after 21 minutes of the 3-0 midweek home win against Kendal Town.
Adam Yates and Harcourt will definitely not feature on Saturday as Atkins is keeping Yates, who has a recurring hip injury, bound in cotton wool, so he can hopefully play in the final.
Atkins said: “I’m not sure what Ilkeston boss Kevin Wilson will be doing but he’s got more players at his disposal.
“Maybe he’ll keep some back for the final but as far as we’re concerned we haven’t the option to change eight or nine players, maybe one or two at the most.
“We want to get a decent result on Saturday and I’m sure Kevin will want to as well.
“As for the final, we’ve got there and the closer we get to it the more it dominates your thinking.
“We need to get Saturday out of the way first and see where that leaves us.
“It might not be ideal but the team for Tuesday might just pick itself.”
Matlock have the boost of a 2-0 victory at the New Manor Ground back in November when the sides met in the first league game.
The Gladiators scored two early second-half goals through James Ashmore and Massiah McDonald, but since then the Robins have moved out of the relegation zone into a comfortable mid-table berth following some excellent results.
Tickets for the final can be bought at Saturday’s game priced £10 adults, £5 concessions and £2 children aged 12 and under.
Transport to Chesterfield leaves the Reynolds Stadium at 6.15 pm with fares of £4 for adults and £2 for children.
Meanwhile, Atkins was left to reflect on his side’s mixed fortunes after two contrasting league games in the space of four days .
A 3-0 defeat at Witton Albion on Saturday was followed with a win by a similar scoreline at home to Kendal Town on Tuesday.
Atkins believes the margin of defeat at Witton was harsh on his side, while against Kendal he was content with the result from a game which was a potential banana skin for his team.
He said: “We got off to a bad start on Saturday losing the early goal although our lads reckon the ball was out of play when the cross came in.
“It was never a 3-0 game but I felt in the first-half we showed them a little too much respect before we forced the game more in the second-half but couldn’t find the final ball or the final touch.
“The Kendal match was difficult because it was a no-win situation for us.
“We were expected to win. Kendal gave it a good go and could have taken the lead but once we got one goal we upped the tempo and could have had four or five by half-time instead of three.
“We found it difficult to keep going and Kendal again made a decent fist of it without ever suggesting they’d force a fightback.”
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