Manager Mark Hume is facing an injury crisis ahead of Matlock Town’s most important match of the season so far on Saturday.
The Gladiators travel to second in the table Nantwich Town in the First Round of the FA Trophy as Derbyshire’s sole survivors in the competition.
Prize money of £5,000 is at stake this weekend, with the potential of more to come should they win and draw a Tranmere or a Grimsby.
But Matlock could have to win the game without injured goalkeeper George Willis (foot), defenders Micky Harcourt (ankle) and Laurie Wilson (calf), midfielder Liam Gaughan (hamstring), and strikers Danny Holland (ankle) and Niall McManus (calf), who all failed to make the starting line up in Tuesday’s 4-2 Derbyshire Senior Cup defeat at Belper.
To add to his problems, defender Harry Coates has been called back by parent club Harrogate Town, and while striker Alex Peterson was given a full debut in midweek, albeit as an emergency central defender, he cannot face the Dabbers as he is cup tied.
“I can’t say at present how many will be ready in time for Nantwich,” a frustrated Hume said.
“One thing is for sure, had we played any of our injured players on Tuesday we wouldn’t have them for Saturday. It was too much of a risk to play them. and two had absolutely no chance of playing last Tuesday.”
Hume said he would have liked to have played his strongest 11 at Belper in what turned out to be a failed attempt to retain the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
“Ideally if I would have had a full squad available, I’d have played our strongest team with the hope of a good result to carry into the Nantwich tie, but it wasn’t to be,” he addeed.
Matlock’s defensive problems have been highlighted recently, and although too much cannot be read into the Belper defeat from that perspective, the fact remains that they have conceded 10goals in the four games beforehand.
Given that Nantwich have the best goalscoring record in the Evo-Stik Premier with 58 goals scored in their 22 league matches, Hume is well aware that Matlock cannot be as generous defensively as they have been recently.
In spite of these issues, Hume is upbeat ahead of the Trophy test.
He said: “I’m confident we can keep going in the Trophy, don’t forget we won a difficult game at Shaw Lane and then in the last round we beat one of the best sides in the league in Blyth Spartans so we’re no mugs.
“We have a game plan, the 2-2 draw there earlier this season is immaterial but at the moment we’re seen as a side who can only play well against the better opposition and while we hope that’s the case on Saturday, in the long term we’ve got to rectify that.”
If a replay is required, it will take place at the Autoworld Arena on Tuesday night (7.45pm). Transport is operating to Nantwich on Saturday leaving the Autoworld Arena at 11.30 am, ring Tom Wright on 07850 065968 to book your place.