The Rushbury and Foster revolution gathered pace this week with a contracted player moving out and three loanees arriving at Matlock Town - and there could well be two more signings before this weekend’s trip to Stamford.
Current fans’ player of the season David Haggerty has asked for his contract to be cancelled after talks with the Matlock management duo, while the three loanees are striker Charlie Dawes from Chesterfield and Grimsby Town defensive duo Ellis Humble and Caine Winfarrah.
Rushbury paid tribute to Haggerty as he explained the popular central defender’s departure.
He said: “David spoke to us after a frustrating time of it with a calf injury and since coming back it’s fair to say his performances have been spasmodic.
“David said he wasn’t happy himself with the way he’s been playing and was quite understandably concerned as we were.
“He feels he’s not psychologically got over his facial injury from last season and has lost some confidence when attacking the ball.
“Misjudgement and apprehension will get found out in this league and he feels he’s not been able to put 100 per cent into every game. He says he wants to take a break from football at NPL Premier level - he’s got an opportunity to work on a Saturday which he wants to take and he can then look again later to see if his enthusiasm has returned.”
Haggerty arrived at Matlock from Buxton during the summer of 2013 and was outstanding in a mean Matlock defence before picking up a facial injury in a home defeat by Stafford Rangers last March. He made 54 appearances, scoring once.
“David’s a very honest and open guy and he didn’t want to be seen to be picking up his money when not at his best,” Rushbury added.
“He’s been excellent for this football club. Against the likes of Frickley and when he came on against FC United the other week it was the old Haggers, at other times he’s been off the pace and he’s had the grace to come out and admit that. We all wish him the very best of luck and we’ve told him as well not to be a stranger.”
Nineteen-year-old Dawes was the first through the entrance door and made an impressive debut in last weekend’s decent 1-1 home draw against table topping Skelmersdale United.
Born in Chesterfield, Dawes signed for his hometown club from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer and has made just the solitary appearance for the Spireites in the Johnstone Paints Trophy defeat at Scunthorpe United.
Rushbury said: “Charlie had good debut doing some really good things. He held and kept the ball in midfield which is important when you’re up against the top of the league, but he also showed he has the pace and ability to beat people, so all in all we’re really pleased with him and hope he can get on the scoresheet for us pretty soon.”
Like Dawes, Humble and Winfarrah, both 18, are at Matlock for a month initially.
“We’ve had excellent reports about Ellis and Caine,” said Rushbury
“We like to do our homework before bringing people in, we need to be confident they can fit into our system and also they’re ones we can potentially keep on now or towards the end of the season when hopefully things will be better financially.”
The Gladiators bosses are also hoping to add a couple of strikers to the squad to help out Danny Holland who Rushbury says “has worked his socks off in attack” and “needs help.”
Rushbury and Foster were much happier after the Skelmersdale draw than they had been four days earlier when Halesowen had thrashed their side in the FA Trophy.
Rushbury said: “I was expecting a reaction knowing we were playing the team at the top of the league.
“We were the better side in the first-half although in the second I felt we went four or five yards too deep as Skelmersdale went with four up front. Having said that we pushed further forward after their goal and were better for it.
“Now we have to try and maintain that level of performance and show some consistency, starting at Stamford on Saturday.
A waterlogged pitch caused the postponement of Tuesday’s home Doodson Cup derby with Ilkeston, which has been rearranged for next Tuesday (18th)