Matlock boss Dave Hoole has admitted that his side need to improve their defending following two away games in which they have let in six goals.
After their 2-2 draw at Scarborough Athletic in their first match of the season on the road, the Gladiators were beaten 4-2 at Gainsborough Trinity on Monday afternoon.
The good news from the away games is that four goals have been scored and added to the four they hit without reply in the opening day home win against Lancaster City, make them the division’s equal top scorers alongside leaders Gainsborough and Basford United who have both played one more game than Matlock.
But while Hoole likes to see his side play attractive football, he is clearly conscious of the need to shore things up at the back.
“We’ve looked vulnerable when teams have attacked us and that’s something that Shaun (Harrad) and myself need to address quickly,” Hoole conceded.
“Adam Yates hasn’t been fit for the last two games and he’s been a massive loss as it’s seemed to upset the balance we had in that first game.”
Hoole is hoping Yates can recover from a knee injury in time for Saturday’s long trek to Workington, particularly as fellow central defender Dwayne Wiley is unavailable through suspension following his two yellow cards at Scarborough.
“We’ll be assessing Adam this week but it may be that we’ll have to bring someone in as cover,” Hoole added.
Matlock have slid down to 16th in a tight division and Hoole knows the importance of defending better which looks to be the key in returning from Borough Park with some reward. Workington have made a disappointing start by their usual standards, having four points from their opening four matches to lie in nineteenth spot.
Hoole says it is a matter of getting the balance right in still being an effective attacking force but also restricting the excessive amount of chances Scarborough and Gainsborough had.
“We’ve got to make sure everything’s absolutely perfect with the long journey and to be able to put some of the wrongs right,” he said.
“We must aim to keep a clean sheet and work from there. We’ve been too gung-ho, our shape hasn’t been the way we wanted it when we set up for the games. Fair play to Gainsborough on Monday, they punished us.
“It’s no secret that everyone wants their side to defend from the front. If that’s not happening you become overrun in midfield, the defence becomes under a lot of pressure and inevitably you’ll concede.
“All Gainsborough’s goals were sloppy from our point of view, that’s disappointing. We’ve got to tighten up and everyone needs to work hard as a unit to stop the pressure and the goals going in.
“We’re disappointed with the results in the last two games although to be fair both Scarborough and Gainsborough will be right up there come the end of the season.”
Matlock then have a difficult home game with Whitby Town on Tuesday who have gained seven out of twelve points on offer so far.
Hoole is hopeful that striker Jamie Jackson will be fit again on Saturday after sitting out the Gainsborough defeat with a slight hamstring problem. Jordan Chapell, who came off after again feeling his calf knock, should also be okay.