Now the dust has settled after their excellent FA Trophy run was cruelly ended with Luton Town’s last gasp winner at the Reynolds Stadium last weekend, Matlock Town must now turn their attention to picking up precious league points in a hectic festive programme.
No less than 12 league points are up for grabs in 11 days and with the Gladiators having lost their last three league matches, that disappointing run needs to be quickly arrested.
But the quartet of matches are far from easy. FC United of Manchester come to town on Saturday for a game which ought to attract the Gladiators’ biggest home crowd of the season.
Then on Boxing Day Matlock visit Rushall Olympic before travelling to Worksop Town on Saturday week. The festive fixtures end with a home derby against Buxton on New Years Day.
All four of Matlock’s upcoming opponents have play off aspirations, but Town supremo Mark Atkins is hoping that his side can transfer both the grit and determination shown against Luton and the flair that saw them dominate and win their Derbyshire Senior Cup tie at Gresley into these games.
Boss Atkins said: “Really it’s all about us.
“If we can play to the high standards of recent games, Whitby excluded, and show good commitment and pass the ball well then we’ll cause teams problems.”
Matlock lost heavily against United at Bury 4-0 in August when they were beset with injury problems and it will be a hugely different side that takes to the field on Saturday, although full back Micky Harcourt will start a two match ban following his red card for foul and abusive language against Stafford Rangers a fortnight ago.
Glyn Cotton took a slight knock at Gresley while Martin Foster came off with a slight hamstring problem, but Phil Roe should be available despite being left out in midweek and the strike force is boosted by Massiah McDonald’s return after a ban and loan signing Jacob Hazel who made his debut as a second half substitute against Luton. Hazel, son of former professional Des Hazel who made 274 appearances for Sheffield Wednesday, is currently with Chesterfield.
The manager though was very pleased as his side won through to a home Derbyshire Senior Cup quarter final tie with Borrowash with a 3-1 win at Gresley on Tuesday thanks toa Lewis Mcmahon brace and a James Ashmore strike.
“It was a great response and we needed to get back to winning ways,” he added.