Matlock Town expect to name their new boss before Saturday’s FA Trophy trip to Halesowen Town.
With interviews having taken place between the weekend and Tuesday night’s home clash with Frickley Athletic, the indications are that by Thursday the Gladiators will have their man or men in place to succeed Mark Atkins who resigned just under a month ago.
Dave Rushbury and Martin Foster have been looking after team affairs in a six-game sequence which yielded three victories, a draw and two defeats. Twelve goals have been netted with six conceded.
Whatever the outcome, the duo have steadied the ship somewhat, but they know that the last two games emphasise that there is still work to be done.
It was a lacklustre Matlock display last Saturday at Workington when a near 400-mile round trip brought about a 2-1 defeat, but they responded in exactly the right manner when in their second successive “six pointer” as they saw off Frickley in three-goal salvo without reply, a result which saw them rise two places to 18th.
“At Workington we didn’t play to the conditions and we didn’t read the game,” said Rushbury.
“It was most annoying that we gave Workington two sloppy goals. We started on the back foot and although we improved a little late on, we came back too late. There’s no excuses, we beat ourselves.”
Looking for a positive reaction, Rushbury and Foster certainly got one against Frickley.
“Martin and I decided to pick a side to pass and play with the ball,” added Rushbury.
“There was no rigid formation, but we tried to move the ball quickly while also wanting to stay tight at the back. I think it worked a treat.”
“It’s something we ‘d want to develop in the club if we got the managerial job,” Rushbury continued.
“We’re a passing team, but to pass consistently well for 90 minutes needs a good level of fitness. You can never always be satisfied but as a group they’ve taken on board what we’re trying to do and had the courage to see it through.
“It’s hard when the opposition are physical and always trying to close you down but I thought we were outstanding. We pressurised Frickley by moving the ball quickly and neatly until eventually they were tired of chasing and they capitulated.”
Now it’s a case of more of the same against a Halesowen side who thrashed Matlock 4-0 in Atkins’ final game and having departed the FA Cup at the first hurdle at home to Ilkeston, the Gladiators will be hoping for a longer run in the Trophy.
“They’re a strong, fit unit and well organised and were much the better side on the day at Matlock when we weren’t firing on all cylinders,” Rushbury added.
“The key is to make them chase the ball a bit more. If we’re appointed we’ll have a good look at the tie and if we need to make changes to get a result we will do but we’ll go with our own philosophy and hope that the lads have it in them to know that we owe them one. And, of course, a cup run would be nice!”
Jason Stokes, who damaged his ankle on Tuesday, will join Liam Needham on the sidelines and miss out. Player Of The Year David Haggerty had a recurrence of his calf injury and was forced off against Frickley will need to be assessed, but Micky Harcourt, Joe Leesley and Phil Roe should be fit.
If a replay is required it will be on Tuesday at the Autoworld Arena, meaning the scheduled league trip to Stamford will be postponed. The Daniels host Barwell in the Trophy on Saturday so all eyes will be on that match also.
Rushbury watched Stamford win 2-1 at Ilkeston on Monday and was impressed, adding: “Again, a very strong and well organised side who I think have the most potent front three in the league.
“But we have to look after ourselves. Three points against Frickley eases the pressure a little bit and it’ll take a few weeks to get everyone firing.
“We’re playing catch-up both in terms of points and getting people 100 per cent fit so if we get the job we might need to shuffle the pack and look to strengthen.”