Manager Mark is staying put

Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager
Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager

MaTLOCK Town manager Mark Atkins has insisted that claims from some Buxton fans he had applied for the recently-filled manager’s position at the Silverlands are unfounded.

The struggling Bucks appointed former Worksop Town chief Martin McIntosh last weekend in succession to Scott Maxfield, who had been in the post since John Reed’s departure from the position in November.

Atkins did speak to Buxton officials, but purely at their invitation.

The claims appeared on the Bucks website forum plus a national non-league site.

“Buxton contacted the club on Friday morning to see if they could speak to me,” said Atkins.

“They said I could, and I went up to Buxton to speak to them on Saturday and that’s as far as it went. I didn’t apply for the position, I’ve just spoken to them.

“I went just out of curiosity really, and out of politeness. I’m surprised that someone at Buxton’s let this out.It can cause friction between the two clubs and it’s something that nobody wants.

“We do our business down here totally differently and I’ve since telephoned the Buxton chairman to complain about what’s happened.”

In spite of going through a frustrating season with just one win in the last ten league matches, Atkins added that he is content in his current job.

“I’m quite happy where I am and being manager at Matlock Town, I’ve no problems with anyone,” he stressed. “My aim is to improve our run of results as quickly as possible.

“Myself, Nick Buxton and the players will be working very hard to do that and move back up that table.”

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Chairman Tom Wright was pleased that nothing came of Atkins’s brief trip up the A6.

“We believe Mark and his staff, by continuing their hard work, can bring about an upturn in our fortunes.

“It’s disappointing that these false claims have come to light, but we move on and I urge all our fans to unite together and continue to get behind Mark, his staff and players.”

The Gladiators will again have one eye on the cold snap ahead of this weekend’s home clash with second bottom Whitby Town.

A frostbound pitch caused the postponement of Saturday’s trip to North Ferriby, all Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division fixtures being victims of the weather.

Whitby have never won at Matlock in ten league and cup visits and it is obviously a record that the hosts will want to maintain.

Although Whitby have only four league wins under their belts so far this term, three of them have come on their travels.

And with a poor home loss to Ashton United a fortnight ago still fresh in the memory, Atkins is clearly wary of the pitfalls when facing a struggling club.

“Whitby are struggling near the bottom but they’re fighting for their lives,” he warned. “Bearing in mind how we played against Ashton, I want us to bounce back positively, seize the initiative and push them back from the start. The onus is on us to call the tune.”

Good news for the Gladiators on the playing front is the possible return of injured trio Chris Bettney, Gareth Davies and Kris Bowler.

Atkins’s selection options could be further increased if international clearance is granted for six foot two inch central defender Laurence Gaughan.

The Matlock boss has also put seven days notice of approach in for another striker.

News of whether the Reynolds Stadium pitch has passed an inspection, should one be required, is likely to be available from approximately 9am on Saturday on the club’s official website