Matlock joint boss Craig Hopkins scoffed at claims from some Matlock Town fans on social media that the season is over.
The claims came to light following Matlock’s 3-2 FA Trophy defeat at Glossop North End last Saturday, the Gladiators having been eliminated at the opening stage of two FA competitions to lower division sides. Matlock then lost 3-0 at Ashton on Tuesday in a game where the scoreline did not reflect the play.
“The season’s not over and it’s ludicrous, ridiculous, to say it is” said Hopkins. “There’s twenty seven league games to play and we’ve got to find a way of putting together a winning run of four or five league games. We’d won our previous two league games before Ashton and to be honest that was never a 3-0 game. We’re working towards our next game with the aim of starting a run like that. There’s no point in being negative, we have to work hard together as a unit and Kirky and me are both determined to us get the results we all want. There’s been some negative, plainly ridiculous comments, two or three people don’t know what they are talking about, but equally there’s been some very valid opinions. We’ll keep on working hard. Those negative comments give us fuel, we’ve proved people wrong all of our careers.”
Some fans have questioned the usefulness in bringing in loan players to which Hopkins replied “We fielded one loan player at both Ashton and Glossop and if you look throughout the Northern Premier League, you’ll see every team fielding loan players. We have two at the moment (Tyrell Waite and Noel Burdett), some teams have more. Last season we had Curtis Morrison and Marcus Dinanga and we all know how well they did for us. Loan players like Noel Burdett who come in from league clubs have the advantage for us of having full time training.”
Matlock have a weekend off with Saturday’s scheduled opponents, Nantwich Town, who were due to visit the DCJ Group Arena, being involved in the FA Cup First Round at Stevenage. The following Saturday has been set aside for the next round of the FA Trophy but we understand Matlock will have a fixture and an announcement is due to be made by the Evo-Stik League before this weekend.
The break will come as a relief to Matlock who have a glut of fitness issues at present. Skipper Adam Yates has missed the last two games with an ankle injury collected in the win over Stafford Rangers and will probably need an X ray to ascertain the extent of the injury. Micky Harcourt (hip) Shaun Harrad (ankle) and Ted Cribley (back) were all forced off at Ashton having initially played through the pain barrier, while midfielder Kieron Wallace played despite being laid low with tonsillitis. Striker Marc Newsham continues to struggle with an ankle injury which has kept him out for eight weeks. while Luis Rose remains on the sidelines through illness.
“We’ve now got eleven days to sort things out” said Hopkins. “We’re also working hard to bring players in but they need to be better than the ones we currently have. Looking around the local non league clubs in the lower divisions, there’s currently no-one about who we think can come in and be at the level required. The squad we have is on a par with last season but as a team we haven’t played as well as we did last season.”
The Glossop defeat particularly, was largely self inflicted as after playing poorly and being a goal down at half time, Matlock rallied to go in front through a Harrad brace only to concede two more to go out.
“We were poor in the first half and we told the players so at half time. Then for half an hour we played really well and should been out of sight, had we took the chances the game would have been done and dusted. Out of nothing they got an equaliser which we thought was offside and then the third’s a fantastic header. We then had the ball in the net but offside was given which we thought was wrong for it looked a perfectly good goal so we’ve not had the rub of the green with the officials, but, we only had ourselves to blame. We found a way to lose it rather than win it. It was a massive game, last year we had some fun in the Trophy, it did wonders for morale and made the club some money so all in all it was a disappointing day ”