Matlock boss looking for ‘positive response’

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Matlock Town manager Mark Atkins wants a positive response from his players after defeat at Nantwich Town last weekend saw them slide uncomfortably into the relegation zone.

A 3-1 reverse saw the Gladiators end up third from the foot of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier table and Atkins said is looking for a show of strength from his players sooner rather than later.

The Matlock chief was disappointed with his side’s defending at Nantwich and called on his players to improve at both ends of the pitch, in a game which saw plenty of chances fall to the Gladiators.

Atkins’ men face Whitby Town at the Autoworld Arena on Saturday followed by another home clash seven days later against newly promoted Halesowen Town, who are struggling to adapt to the step up.

“We’re only nine games into the season so there’s plenty of time to turn things around, but we do need to start taking the chances that come our way and prove that we’re strong enough to pull through,” said Atkins after the 2-1 friendly win at Rossington Main on Monday evening.

“We’ve got to be looking at getting three points at home every game, our home record last year was very good and we need to replicate that. We lost to Stamford but on the night they played very well but we could easily have won the other games. If we can be positive, we stand a good chance of getting the six points.”

Lawrence Gorman played the full 90 minutes on Monday evening and is in contention for the visit of Whitby. The former Nottingham Forest trainee is on a dual registration with Conference Premier neighbours Alfreton Town.

He has been drafted in as cover for Micky Harcourt, who is still two or three weeks away, while David Haggerty is a doubt for Saturday after sustaining an injury during the FA Cup defeat to Ilkeston.

Atkins was impressed with Jamie Yates, who lasted 70 minutes at Nantwich, and came on as a substitute to score a spectacular winner at Rossington.

“Jamie did really well, the game on Saturday plus playing at Rossington will do him a world of good for he hasn’t had a lot of playing time at North Ferriby,” added Atkins.

“His quality will come the fitter he gets. The Rossington game was very useful in terms of a number of players needing game time so they can come in better prepared if needed. It was a good work out, the score didn’t really matter but I was pleased with what I saw from a number of players.”