Glenn Kirkwood labelled Matlock’s 3-0 home defeat to Nantwich Town as both a disaster and a surprise and says only hard work will improve their fortunes in a season of underachievement so far.
Saturday’s defeat was their fourth at home this term and a second successive 3-0 loss following on from the defeat at Ashton United eleven days earlier.
It leaves Matlock stuck in 17th spot and badly needing three points from their trip to Witton Albion this weekend.
“Saturday was a disaster and a surprise. We’d had a week off, the lads had looked sharp in training and were buzzing in the changing room and in the warm-up so to play like that was a massive surprise,” said Kirkwood.
“We never got started and going a goal behind early on meant we were always chasing the game. The only positive to come out of the game is that we created chances despite playing so badly.
“At the start of the second half we could have levelled it but then a lack of concentration saw us 2-0 down and with ten men against a good side, it was always going to be difficult from that point on.
“Nantwich were quick out of the blocks, we weren’t. The buck stops with me and Hoppo (Craig Hopkins) and although it sounds like we’re repeating ourselves, we’ll carry on working hard to get things right.”
Tuesday’s training session included a discussion between players and management as to how the Gladiators could get back to winning ways and improve their league standing.
Kirkwood added: “We’ve had a good chat at training, the lads got some things off their chests, things are very frustrating.
“Individually we have a good team but collectively it’s not quite there. It’s a case of continuing to work hard.
“We always try to be positive, the confidence will come back to the team with a win. We go out looking to win every game whether we’re playing the top of the league, bottom of the league or whoever, that’ll never change.
“As a team we’ve got to man up. It’s okay wanting to win, the difference is going into the game really wanting to win.
“Going that extra mile. People talk about last season, then we grafted and went that extra mile, we had eleven players crawling off the pitch at the end, this season I’m not really sure we’ve been getting that.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we roll our sleeves up, puff out our chests, play for the badge, the club and the fans. We had a good crowd in on Saturday and fluffed it which is really frustrating. Now it’s back to basics.”
On the playing front Kirkwood says there is a need to “freshen things up” and two new faces could be in the squad at Wincham Park.
Last week striker Tyrell Waite was recalled by Boston United but it was a case of one in and one out as 18 years-old striker Ricky German came in from Chesterfield.
“We had an inkling that Tyrell might go back with Boston changing their manager but we’ve had Ricky on our radar since last season,” he added.
“I repeat that we want to bring players in permanently but it’s more difficult than people imagine.
“People who come in from divisions below ours must be ones who can improve us, if you look at Conference North it’s more difficult convincing them to drop down a division, but we hope to have two new lads with us for the Witton game.”
Matlock were without full back Micky Harcourt against Nantwich with a hip injury and he is rated as 50-50, while Michael Williams missed Tuesday’s training session with a bad back but is expected to be fit. Callum Lloyd, sent off last weekend, begins a three match ban but Joe Doyle-Charles is available again after suspension.