Matlock Town will be hoping to reverse the trend of recent seasons when they travel to Buxton for a Boxing Day derby
The Bucks have held the upper hand in recent seasons, but if Matlock are to threaten the top five, they need to start winning tough matches such as this. They also need to arrest worrying away form which has left them without a win on then road since a 3-1 victory at Stafford Rangers on October 12.
“We’ve been poor in recent seasons against Buxton, particularly up there. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and work hard. They’re going well so it’ll be a tough game and we need to take the chances that come our way” stressed Matlock boss Mark Atkins.
Taking chances has been an achilles heel for Matlock this season and it was there again in Saturday’s scoreless draw at home to Marine.
“I think we edged it” said Atkins “Jon Kennedy didn’t hardly have a shot to save so I was pleased with us defensively. We needed a clean sheet as we’d been giving some easy goals away in recent games. But I was disappointed with the 0-0 score, we had chances around the six yard box and we need to tuck them away.”
Atkins paid tribute to central defender David Haggerty who has signed a contract with the Gladiators this week. The former Rotherham United and FC Halifax number five joined Matlock after being released by Buxton in the summer and while he has come close to his first Matlock goal on numerous occasions this term, including twice striking the woodwork on Saturday, Atkins feels that first goal is not too far away.
“It would be nice for him and us if it came at Buxton. David’s a top player and a top man, his attitude has been first class.”
Meanwhile Adam Yates has had an operation on his fractured cheekbone and might be back sooner than was first thought.
“Losing Adam’s been a big blow but he’s had his cheekbone treated and thankfully he didn’t have to have a plate put in. We gather he can’t have any contact on it for six weeks, but we’ll still need to take our time with him for the lad’s welfare is the main thing” Atkins added.
The Town chief has released striker Bradley Grayson who returned to the club in October after a spell playing in Sweden.
“Things haven’t quite worked for him this time around so we had a chat and agreed that we should release him, he goes with our best wishes.”
After the Boxing Day trip to the Silverlands, Matlock are on the road again on Saturday visiting Whitby Town.
“two away games in three days is hard and while it’s a nice place to go to, you always gat a difficult game. There’s a lot of clubs looking to get into the top five so again we must go there with a positive attitude, concentrate well and try and take some chances.”