Injuries biting hard for Matlock
Dave Frecklington will be hoping for good news from sports therapist Mark Mullins ahead of Saturday's home clash with Hednesford Town and Tuesday's visit of Grantham with the Gladiators blighted by a long, horrendous injury list.
Nine players are under his care after Tuesday’s scoreless draw at Mickleover which extended Matlock’s unbeaten run to five games.
Of those nine, Frecklington can realistically see probably only three of them making it.
Then there’s also the added complications of Cleveland Taylor being absent on Saturday on family business and midfielder Nathan Whitehead serving a one match ban after his fifth booking of the season in last weekend’s superb 1-0 victory at second placed Warrington Town.
Tom Davie was forced off with ankle ligament damage twenty five minutes into the Warrington win while in form striker Marcus Marshall felt hamstring problems during the warm up at Mickleover and had to be replaced minutes before the kick off by Jamie Jackson, himself recovering from injury.
Tarron Hare (shoulder), Michael Williams (abductor plus an added injury in a turned ankle while out running), Shaun Harrad (cracked fibula), Jordan Chapell (ankle but in light training), Craig King (quad plus feeling unwell) Lee Beevers(gashed ankle at Mickleover) and Dwayne Wiley (hamstring) complete the list.
“To keep getting results when we have a list of that magnitude shows that everyone is going in the right direction, I hope to have another face in for Saturday which given our injuries would be just what we need,” said Frecklington.
King, Beevers and Marshall are the ones with the most chance of playing with Frecklington saying that Hednesford and Grantham are massive games for his side.
“We’ve got four points out of six in our last two home games, we want to make Causeway Lane a fortress,” he said.
“These next two games are massive looking at the league table, “Hednesford and Grantham are both teams we can realistically catch. I hope the supporters will get behind us, we need their vocal support, especially with the threadbare squad we have at present.”
Togetherness is a quality Frecklington feels is crucial.
“We have it in the squad, togetherness is so important, it’s so powerful and I’m a big believer in the management, players and fans having that, there should be no distance between players and supporters,” he said after spending a good half an hour sat with Matlock fans in Warrington Social Club, reflecting on and celebrating the 1-0 win, courtesy of Craig King’s 21st minute strike, his first for the Gladiators.
“Our support has been magnificent at home and at both Warrington and Mickleover,” he continued.
Matlock’s win at Cantilever Park made other clubs sit up and take notice, particularly as the Wire had only previously conceded three league goals and had not let in a league goal for 15 hours.
It was the first time they had beaten Warrington while at Mickleover an unwanted run of losing every competitive game they had played at the Don Amott Arena ended.
“I’m really pleased with the results and even more pleased with the clean sheets,” he said.
“We defended really well, especially at Warrington, and when we got our chance we took it. There was an unbelievable work ethic, we looked dangerous when we came forward also.
“Then we had the local derby on Tuesday. I was disappointed we couldn’t get all three points but again the commitment and effort from the boys was fantastic and you can see people buying into what we’re doing.
“Clean sheets are massive and if we can’t win it it’s important we don’t lose it.
“The back four had a really good understanding, they’re doing what we ask and keeping a really good shape, the midfield are working hard and winning their battles while the front two are defending from the front.
“It’s the manner of the performances that’s especially pleasing, people have dug in and put their bodies on the line.
“You could see on Tuesday that Saturday took a lot out of the players but they did their jobs, now we’ve let in only three in five games instead of three a game.”
Meanwhile after the next two home games Matlock will be on the road on Saturday week to Southern League Central Premier outfit St Neots Town in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy.
The Saints may be struggling in their league, lying in fourth bottom spot, but their cup form has been outstanding.
They visit Alfreton Town in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday, just 90 minutes away from a potential clash with a Football League side.
Matlock beat St Neots 2-0 at the Proctor Cars Stadium back in 2013/14 in the same round of the stage with Micky Harcourt and Danny Holland netting the goals.