Matlock boss Dave Frecklington admitted frustration might have got the better of him immediately after the Gladiators’ 2-1 home defeat by top of the table Farsley Celtic on Saturday as the injury curse struck yet again.
Matlock had gone a goal up when Jonny Margetts headed in a Craig King corner in the 11th minute.
But 10 minutes later, King, described by Frecklington as his ‘stellar signing’ only two days earlier when the 28-year-old winger extended his contract until the end of the 2019/20 season, went down with a knee injury and had to be replaced.
King now looks like being out for four to six weeks to add to what again is an unprecedented injury list and add to the curse which has struck Frecklington and Matlock since he was appointed as manager back in September.
Frecklington said after the game: “It feels like we’ve run over three black cats recently.
“We start the game with six players out then lose Craig King early in the game and have to re-jig everything and change shape.
“The injuries are just the norm at this football club, I’ve never had to deal with this amount. People will say I’m whining and moaning but I’m dealing with facts.”
Having had time to reflect on his post match thoughts, the Matlock chief was more measured when he spoke in midweek.
“I’m not making excuses. Frustration got to me, I’ve never known a season like it. It’s been a really, really difficult season.
“When we came to the club, the results spoke for themselves. “Previously results hadn’t been good enough, but we went on a run, brought players in but kept inheriting injuries.
“Yes injuries are part and parcel of the game but to be hit by them so regularly and to an extent where at one time we had 12 players out, takes its toll.
“We’d worked hard on a system having lost three players after the win at Hyde in a centre half, midfielder and a wide player.
“We took on the best side in the league, the league leaders and had gone in front from a Craig King assist with Jonny Margetts scoring again. It was a great start then you lose your biggest threat with a knee injury.”
Frecklington was proud of the efforts of his players who came within four minutes of taking a point.
“I thought we were excellent and the injuries make it difficult for the players who are constantly having to deal with change, it’s unsettling for them,” he said.
“On another day we may have held on to get a point but we’ve matched another top team and taken them to the last five minutes. “I repeat, the players in my tenure here have given nothing less than 100 per cent commitment, week in, week out.”
Matlock fielded two debutants last weekend. Chris Salt replaced the injured Dwayne Wiley and also in central defence was 22 years old loanee Toby Lees from Conference National Harrogate Town.
Lees had earlier been impressive in a loan spell with Matlock’s league rivals Whitby Town.
Frecklington said: “We brought Toby in at the last minute to cover with Dwayne and Greg Tempest not being fit and with Lee Beevers playing through the pain barrier and Brad Beatson having been ill.
“I didn’t want Ashton Hall to pick up an injury with all the interest in him at the moment. Toby did really well and Chris Salt was fantastic.
“Everything we saw in Chris on Saturday was everything about him, a 24-year-old six foot plus defender who’s a throwback to the old centre halves.
“He heads it properly, making the opposition defend from the first header. To be honest we’ve missed someone like him.”