With cup games dominating his side’s fixture list at present, Matlock boss Mark Hume will be stressing the importance of collecting valuable league points along the way as he prepares for Saturday’s visit of newly promoted Sutton Coldfield Town.

The last three weeks has seen the Gladiators progress in the FA Trophy with wins over firstly Gresley and then last weekend at Shaw Lane Aquaforce, and they also accounted for Spalding United in the Integro Doodson NPL Cup following a penalty shoot out.

Since disappointingly losing to struggling Stamford and Whitby Town, Matlock are unbeaten in five outings, a 2-2 draw at high flying Salford City and a comfortable 3-0 win against Frickley Athletic both in the league included in that run, and after facing Sutton Coldfield, three of their next four matches are cup games.

Hume wants his side to maintain their focus in picking up valuable league points.

“The league’s our bread and butter and Sutton Coldfield’s important like the Frickley win was with it being sandwiched in between cup games ,we need to be looking to get the three points on Saturday, we mustn’t lose sight of our commitments and responsibilities in the league.”

It’s a mid table six pointer with the Royals one place and one point better off than Matlock who lie in 14th spot, and after a dip in form recently, Sutton recovered superbly to knock Darlington 1883 out of the FA Trophy last weekend.

Hume’s men also had a fine result, deservingly beating big spending Evo-Stik NPL First Division South title chasers Shaw Lane Aquaforce 2-1 in Barnsley. All three goals came in the opening thirteen minutes of the second half with goals from Nicky Travis and Danny Holland coming either side of Steven Istead’s strike for the Ducks.

The match was played in atrocious conditions as torrential rain came down throughout the game, but Hume was delighted with his side’s display.

“You couldn’t expect a classic in those conditions and on a day like that you have to grind it out but to be fair it was a very good performance from the lads against a good side unbeaten at home. If they came up to the Premier Division, with the players they’ve got they’d do extremely well. The lads have set a standard now and Shaw Lane only had the better of about ten minutes of the game especially when they went with six players up at the end but we also had a lot of chances and could have scored more. We showed a lot of character.”

Midfielder Travis had undeniably his best game in a Matlock shirt as well as scoring his maiden goal for the Gladiators.

“Trav’s got that in him and has had to be patient and wait for his chance, he’s built up and built up for this, but others like Liam Needham who show the same level of consistency, week in , week out also deserve a mention.”

Monday’s draw presented Matlock with a tasty home meeting with Blyth Spartans who lost the league leadership to Nantwich Town on Tuesday night, the Dabbers beating Hyde United 3-0 while Spartans were without a game. The Blyth clash is set for Saturday November 28. This means the postponement of the long trip to Workington and already Town’s trip to Blyth, scheduled for December 12 is off, with the next round of the FA Trophy due to be played on that date.

Two more cup draws have also been made with the Gladiators hosting Daventry Town in the Integro Doodson NPL Cup on Tuesday December 1, while holders Matlock will travel to Belper Town seven days later as they defend the Derbyshire Senior Cup they won in style last term.

Meanwhile Hume has not yet managed to add to his striking options.

“We’ll carry on looking, I’m looking at bringing in a couple of players but they have to be the right ones” said Hume. “To be honest Joel Purkiss and Danny Holland are doing well at the moment plus Ted Cribley can also play up top, Then there’s Niall McManus who through family reasons lost his place in the team having been one of our main men, someone I’d turn to if I wanted a performance. He’s not grumbled, he’s a good lad and his chance will come. If anyone else does come, it could be hard for them to break into the starting eleven , I think we need that extra support up there, but they need to be the right players.”

Holland limped off at Shaw Lane after turning an ankle.

“It’s not as bad as we first thought but we’ll have to wait and see how he is ahead of Saturday” Hume added.

IAN RICHARDSON

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