After a blank weekend, Matlock travel to Marine on Saturday looking for a second successive win after their victory against basement side North Ferriby United a fortnight ago.
The Gladiators are lodged firmly in mid table, unlikely now to reach the play-offs and looking reasonably safe as far as not being dragged into the relegation picture. But boss Dave Frecklington says there will be no let up as he wants the Gladiators to finish as high as they can in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division table.
“I said to the lads a fortnight ago that we had a ten game season and nothing’s changed, we want to win every game we play. The lads have trained really hard as usual, the attitude and application of the players is first class, they all work hard and want to do well. We won that first game and we’ll be going to Marine wanting to get another win.”
Marine have hit a slight blip after an encouraging start to 2019 which has seen them ease away from trouble although the league table would suggest that the Mariners are not completely out of the woods just yet. They lie in 15th spot, six points and three places adrift of Matlock who have played a game less. Their blip has come with three defeats in their last four outings, the last two though being narrow 2-1 losses against promotion chasing Scarborough Athletic and South Shields.
The Marine trip is the first of three games Matlock face against clubs in and around the relegation zone. Third bottom Mickleover Sports come to the Proctor Cars Stadium next weekend before the Gladiators visit in form Hednesford Town in a fortnight. Frecklington says though he hasn’t set points targets from the games, there is just the desire to win each game his team plays.
“You never know just what you’re going to get in this league. We do know though we’ll face a fully committed Marine team on Saturday and as we’ve said before you need to be bang on the money to get results in this league. Both teams will probably have key players missing. I’ve not set any targets for the next three games, no team has a given right to win a football match. The opposition will be fighting for their lives as we did when we were down at the bottom and we need to match them. Marine have had a set of good results until recently (their league record in 2019 is six wins two draws and three defeats in eleven games played), Mickleover went to Scarborough and won and Hednesford have won their last three games so it’s very much what happens on the day.”
The Gladiators starting eleven on Saturday could virtually pick itself with Craig King, Cleveland Taylor, Marcus Marshall and Greg Tempest all still injured and Nathan Whitehead beginning a two match ban after accumulating ten yellow cards. Matlock are thus likely to have a very youthful substitutes bench.
“I’m trying to strengthen our squad ahead of the weekend but we’ll still have a relatively inexperienced bench so a youngster could get their chance” said Frecklington.
“I can’t say at this moment which youngsters will be going to Marine as we still have another training session on Thursday but we’ll then look at who we’ve got, whether we’ve managed to bring anyone in and select the squad from there which we think can go to Marine and get a good result.”
Frecklington was pleased with how last Saturday’s open day went when fans were invited to observe training before being able to quiz him and the rest of his managerial team in a question and answer session afterwards.
“It pretty much went how I expected it to although I was disappointed with the attendance. It would have been nice to see a few more fans there but it was good to speak with those that were there, hear their opinion and put over our point of view so they can have a better understanding of where we’re coming from.”