The Rushbury and Foster revolution gathered pace this week with a contracted player moving out and three loanees arriving at the Autoworld Arena, and there could well be two more signings before this weekend’s trip to Stamford.
Current fans player of the season David Haggerty has asked for his contract to be cancelled after talks with the Matlock management duo, while the three loanees are striker Charlie Dawes from Chesterfield, and Grimsby Town defensive duo Ellis Humble and Caine Winfarrah.
Rushbury paid tribute to Haggerty in midweek as he explained the popular central defender’s departure.
“David spoke to us after a frustrating time of it with a calf injury and since coming back it’s fair to say his performances have been spasmodic. David said he wasn’t happy himself with the way he’s been playing and was quite understandably concerned as we were. He feels he’s not psychologically got over his facial injury from last season and has lost some confidence when attacking the ball. Misjudgement and apprehension will get found out in this league, he feels he’s not been able to put 100% into every game. He says he wants to take a break from football at NPL Premier level, he’s got an opportunity to work on a Saturday which he wants to take and he can then look again later to see if his enthusiasm has returned.”
Haggerty arrived at Matlock from Buxton during the summer of 2013 and was outstanding in a mean Matlock defence before picking up a facial injury in a surprise home defeat by Stafford Rangers last March. He made 54 appearances scoring once.
“David’s a very honest and open guy and he didn’t want to be seen to be picking up his money when not at his best” Rushbury added. “He’s been excellent for this football club. Against the likes of Frickley and when he came on against FC United the other week it was the old Haggers, at other times he’s been off the pace and he’s had the grace to come out and admit that. We all wish him the very best of luck and we’ve told him as well not to be a stranger.”
Nineteen years old Dawes was the first through the entrance door and made an impressive debut in last weekend’s decent 1-1 home draw against table topping Skelmersdale United. Born in Chesterfield, Dawes signed for his hometown club from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer and has made just the solitary appearance for the Spireites in the Johnstone Paints Trophy defeat at Scunthorpe United.
“Charlie had good debut doing some really good things. He held and kept the ball in midfield which is important when you’re up against the top of the league, but he also showed he has the pace and ability to beat people, so all in all we’re really pleased with him and hope he can get on the scoresheet for us pretty soon.”
Like Dawes, Humble and Winfarrah, both 18, are at Matlock for a month initially.
“We’ve had excellent reports about Ellis and Caine, we like to do our homework before bringing people in, we need to be confident they can fit into the system we want to play and also they’re ones we can potentially want to keep on now or towards the end of the season when hopefully things will be better financially” said Rushbury. “One’s an out and out centre half while the other can operate as a wing back, on the left defensively or even slot into midfield.”
The Gladiators joint bosses are also hoping to add a couple of strikers to the squad to help out Danny Holland who Rushbury says “has worked his socks off in attack” and “needs help.”
“Danny’s been absolutely superb, he’s got his goals and has been the focal point of our attack, but the likes of Charlie alongside and a couple of new additions also should give us extra options so that we’re not having to rely so heavily on Danny.”
Rushbury and Foster were in a much happier frame of mind after the Skelmersdale draw than they had been four days earlier when Halesowen had thrashed their side in the FA Trophy.
“We’re very pleased with the reaction after the cup exit, the lads were disappointed with their performance, they openly apologized. We had a chat and really I was expecting a reaction knowing we were playing the team at the top of the league, we knew the reaction was guaranteed even if the result wasn’t. We knew the shaper we’d play and we had maneuverability if we needed it. We implemented it well in the first half and the Skelmersdale manager Tommy Lawson was very complimentary about us, saying our back three were outstanding, and that we were the better side in the first half adding Skelmersdale might have been two down instead of 1-0 behind at the interval. In the second half I felt we went four or five yards too deep as Skelmersdale went with four up front, so they created chances. Yet we were disappointed with the goal we conceded, having said that we pushed further forward after the goal and were better for it.”
Acknowledging that a lack of consistency has blighted Matlock in recent games, Rushbury added
“Now we have to try and maintain that level of performance and show some consistency. The lads know the level of commitment that’s required and we’ll need that starting at Stamford. I watched them recently and was very impressed. Of all the teams I’ve seen so far this season they have the most potent and powerful front three, but they’re not on a great run at the moment which surprises me so maybe there’s some weaknesses there we can exploit.”
A combination of an ankle injury plus a one game ban means that Oscar Radford will not feature at Stamford and midfielder Corey Gregory is doubtful with a shoulder muscle injury he sustained in the Halesowen replay defeat but played with against Skelmersdale. Reserve striker David Omawolu, an unused substitute last weekend, is likely to be involved again, along with the new boys.
A waterlogged pitch caused the postponement of Tuesday night’s home Doodson Cup derby with Ilkeston, which has been rearranged for this coming Tuesday. Accordingly the scheduled trip to Whitby Town on Wednesday will now be rearranged.
One other fixture alteration is the home meeting with Rushall Olympic which will now take place on Tuesday November 25.