Mark Hume may be able to include three more players in his squad as Matlock hope they can play their first game of 2016 at home to Hyde United on Saturday.

The Gladiators chief has already brought in 24 years old goalscoring midfielder Andy Gascoigne on a month’s loan from Harrogate Town and would probably have included him in the scheduled home meeting with Ramsbottom United last weekend which was called off on Saturday morning with the Autoworld Arena surface frozen.

But Hume wants Matlock to have a strong end to the campaign and to that end he hopes to have a central defender and striker signed up to increase competition for places. There will be one departure though with tall forward Dan Cockerline having been recalled by Sheffield United.

Gascoigne has youth experience at Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Mansfield Town before joining Sheffield FC where he netted 22 goals during 2013/14. After a summer trial with Northampton Town he moved to Goole at the start of the following campaign before joining Harrogate where his career was temporarily suspended by a broken leg.

“Andy can play down the middle or off a striker so him coming to us is especially good with Ted Cribley banned for three games” Hume explained. “We’re hoping he can get some good game time with us for he’s not been able to force his way in at Harrogate, if he can do well for us we’ll have to see what happens next. He gives us options and there’ll be even more options once Ted comes back and to have selection problems is a nice position to be in. I’m hoping also to have a striker and a centre half with us this week.”

It’s been a lengthy unofficial winter break for Matlock who were last in action when they won 1-0 at Ilkeston on Christmas Monday.

“It’ll be nice to get a game on” Hume added, Things look more optimistic weather wise as the recent cold snap looks likely to end with milder and wetter weather expected during this weekend.

The Matlock players have been training hard as they hope to replicate the form shown in the Ilkeston victory once their campaign eventually gets under way again.

The lads have worked really hard including a session last Saturday which has blown the cobwebs off, they’re as fit as they can be, it’s not great to go three to four weeks without matches so we’ll have to hope there’s no rustiness if we play on Saturday, but there’ll be no excuses, most clubs are in the same boat.”

Hyde have not won in the league in nine attempts since beating Colwyn Bay at home at the end of October, a surprisingly poor run of form having earlier in the campaign looking a sound outside bet for a play off spot, and if Matlock are to meet Hume’s aspirations of a high final placing, the Gladiators must surely be looking for maximum points.

“Everyone usually has a dip in form at some point of the season, even the top sides, but we must concentrate on ourselves, I keep on telling the players that we need to knuckle down and put a good run of results together, if we can do that then there’s the chance of us being in the mix at the end of the season.”

Matlock’s trip to Darlington has been brought forward from its initial date of March 8 to Tuesday February 9.

Ian Richardson

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