Mark Hume says his wheeling and dealing is not yet over, but he is prepared to show patience as the revamping of his Matlock squad continues.

Prior to last weekend’s crucial 3-2 home win over fellow strugglers Marine, the Town chief brought in attacking midfielder Ted Cribley on loan from Barrow, with winger Jason Stokes making the short trip down the A6 to Belper Town and full back Phil Roe signing for Worksop Town in the Northern Counties East League although Matlock still have his NPL registration.

“I know what I want and there’s no point in signing just anyone just so people can see that I’ve brought in a striker for example” said Hume. “Whoever we look to signing must fit in, I’ve two or three in mind but the squad’s shaping up nicely now. I’m still though seeking that one big signing.”

24 years old Cribley became Hume’s eighth new addition since being handed the managerial reins at the Autoworld Arena less than a month ago. Born in Sheffield, Cribley played for four years in the US College system before joining Sheffield FC having had a trial at Sheffield United. A move to Barrow followed in December 2013 although earlier this season he had a ten games loan spell at Hyde FC in the Vanarama Conference North netting four goals.

Cribley made an almost instant contribution,, scoring what proved to be the winner against the Mariners.

“Ted’s a good player and did very well on Saturday so we’re delighted to have him with us” said Hume who thought Matlock finished as comfortable winners in spite of a “relatively poor first half performance.”

“Having said that we were still better than them, when they scored it was against the run of the play. In the second half it was much better from us and to be honest we should have been 4-1 up. We needed to be a bit more cute and more clinical, if we ‘d been that bit wiser we’d have seen the game out far more comfortably than we did, in the end it was a case of a bit of a panic and we shouldn’t have had to do that. We made it harder for ourselves than we needed to.”

Stokes’ move away from Matlock is perhaps understandable with the winger having endured a stop start season due to constant injury niggles since joining the Gladiators last summer.

“Jason wants to play football, so needed to go away to play. We wish him well. We’ve options in the wide positions with Otis (Khan), Ted, Niall McManus and Corey Gregory all capable of playing there. For the record Niall was outstanding all the way through against Marine and in fact was the only one I praised at half time.”

Stokes is likely to make an early return to his old club with foot of the table Belper due at the Autoworld Arena on Tuesday night. On Saturday though Matlock visit top placed Skelmersdale United, eager to build on Saturday’s priceless victory, which temporarily at least, increased their lead over Marine from three to six points. A 3-2 Marine win at Trafford in midweek reduced the gap to three points again, but the Liverpool side have played a game more than the Gladiators.

Matlock though, must be looking upwards now, and while they remain in the top relegation slot, fifth bottom Witton Albion are just a point ahead of them following a 3-1 loss at Grantham Town last weekend. Nantwich Town, in nineteenth spot have a three points advantage over the Gladiators but have played an extra game, with Matlock’s goal difference substantially better.

“Things are looking more encouraging now but it’s important we build on last weekend’s result” Hume continued. “The next three games are hugely important. Skelmersdale are obviously a very good side, I’m not interested in the problems they are apparently having with regard to budget cuts and the like, the players don’t change and I’m under no illusions it’ll be tough, but we stand a better chance than we did two months ago. Then we’ve got a very interesting home game against Belper before we face Marine again.”

Hume expects to be at full strength for the trip to Stormy Corner with winger Otis Khan expected to be fit after sitting out the Marine clash with a shoulder strain.

Matlock now know their opponents in the semi finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup after Glossop North End beat a Chesterfield eleven 3-1 on Tuesday night. The tie is likely to be played on Tuesday February 24 at Surrey Street, with Matlock travelling there wanting to avenge a 3-2 defeat to the Hillmen in the competition last season. The winners will face Gresley FC who knocked out current holders Ilkeston by a 2-1 margin at The Moat Ground in midweek.

Ian Richardson

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