Hopes Matlock boss Mark Atkins might have had of rotating his squad
for the double header with county rivals Ilkeston this week look to
have been dashed as injuries yet again bite into his squad.

The Gladiators play host to the Robins at the Reynolds Stadium in the
league on Saturday before the two teams do battle in the Derbyshire
Senior Cup Final at Chesterfield’s Pro-Act stadium on Tuesday night.

Full back Micky Harcourt was already a major doubt with a groin injury
which forced him off in only the 12th minute of Matlock’s 3-0 defeat
at Witton Albion on Saturday. Now another defender has been definitely
ruled out as Laurence Gaughan was stretchered off with hamstring
trouble after 21 minutes of the 3-0 midweek home win against Kendal
Town.

Adam Yates and Harcourt will definitely not feature on Saturday as
Atkins is keeping Yates, who has a recurring hip injury, bound in
cotton wool,so he can hopefully play in the final.

“I’m not sure what Kevin (Wilson, Ilkeston manager) will be doing but
he’s got more players at his disposal” said Atkins. “Maybe he’ll keep
some back for the final but as far as we’re concerned we haven’t the
option to change eight or nine players, maybe one or two at the
most. We want to get a decent result on Saturday and I’m sure Kevin
will want to as well. As for the final, we’ve got there and the closer
we get to it the more it dominates your thinking.We need to get
Saturday out of the way first and see where that leaves us. It might
not be ideal but the team for Tuesday might just pick itself.”

Matlock have the boost of a 2-0 victory at the New Manor Ground back
in November when the sides met in the first league game. The
Gladiators scored two early second half goals through James Ashmore
and Massiah McDonald, but since then the Robins have moved out of the
relegation zone into a comfortable mid table berth following some
excellent results.

Looking back at the last two games, Atkins reckons the margin of
defeat at Witton was harsh on his side, while against Kendal he was
content with the result from a game which was a potential banana skin
for his team.

“We got off to a bad start on Saturday losing the early goal although
our lads reckon the ball was out of play when the cross came in.It was
never a 3-0 game but I felt in the first half we showed them a little
too much respect before we forced the game more in the second half
but couldn’t find the final ball or the final touch.Although we showed
good endeavour we never looked like scoring. The Kendal match was
difficult because it was a no-win situation for us. We were expected
to win. Kendal gave it a good go and could have taken the lead but
once we got one goal we upped the tempo and could have had four or
five by half time instead of three.We found it difficult to keep going
and Kendal again made a decent fist of it without ever suggesting
they’d force a fightback. At the end of the day we’ll take the three
points.”

As well as Gaughan going on the injured list after Tuesday, fellow
defenders Oscar Radford and James Lukic collected knocks with a sore
backside and sore ribs respectively but are expected to recover.

Tickets for the final can be bought at Saturday’s game priced £10
adults, £5 concessions and £2 children 12 and under. Transport to
Chesterfield leaves the Reynolds Stadium at 6.15 pm with fares of £4
adults and £2 children.

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