“It’s still early days, we won’t get too carried away” said Matlock Town boss Mark Hume after the 1-0 home win against local rivals Ilkeston on Monday put the Gladiators second in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division table.
The impressive start to the campaign actually sees Matlock level on points with leaders Blyth Spartans, the Croft Park club having a one goal better goal difference.
Town’s position is all the more commendable given they are operating with a small squad that on Monday was stretched to the absolute limit following injuries picked up by key midfield duo Ted Cribley and Nicky Travis in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Hyde United.
Hume could only name three substitutes for Monday’s game including himself and Assistant Manager Scott Maxfield on the bench.
“The injuries to Ted and Trav were big blows for us and in a crowded Bank Holiday match schedule there’s not a lot you can do but go along with what you’ve got. I heard one or two comments from the crowd about our bench that narked me a bit. We’ve got a good side here who are working really hard, we didn’t deserve that. Do people really think that me and Scott wanted to be on the bench? Our budget doesn’t allow us to keep bringing people in and having them sat in the stand. Matty Steeper was also injured and Josh Batty unavailable. I thought we were excellent. Look at what Ilkeston had available, seventeen or eighteen young lads plus Lee Hughes. We did a great job on them and for all of their possession they had no penetration which was down to us. Even with ten men we stayed strong, we said they wouldn’t get past us. A performance like that shows the character and belief we have in that dressing room from a really committed bunch.”
Hume refused to comment much about Micky Harcourt’s 82nd minute red card following an altercation with a visiting fan who Harcourt alleges spat at him.
“It’s disgusting what happened and we’re happy that Ilkeston have said they won’t tolerate such behaviour and it shows what a good club they are. Sometimes you have to be a big man and walk away but believe me that’s really hard in those sorts of circumstances.”
Hume is hoping Cribley and Travis will be fit in time for Saturday’s trip to Skelmersdale United particularly as defender Adam Yates serves his one match suspension after being sent off against Salford City.
“Trav had a tight calf which got worse over the weekend. Ted’s got a swollen ankle and then caught a bug so he was left out as a precaution, we didn’t want the bug to spread through the dressing room. I’m trying to bring players in but we have versatility in the squad and we’ve worked around Adam’s absence” Hume explained.
Matlock were 1-0 winners at Skelmersdale during a productive February last season when Skelmersdale were league leaders. A similar result on Saturday would be well received by everyone at the Autoworld Arena.
The Gladiators return to home soil on Tuesday night against Halesowen Town.
“Quite simply we’ve got to carry on what we’ve been doing” Hume continued. “When you look at things as a whole after the Bank Holiday. it was disappointing to only get the draw at Hyde. But then Hyde go to Salford and win, which with all respect to Hyde, I never expected as Salford are a really good attacking side. But it’s a tough, tight league and we’ve got to be really happy with our start.”