With just two more pre season games left before their league business starts at Frickley Athletic on August 15, Matlock manager Mark Hume says the procession of substitutions will now stop as he fine tunes his charges.

The Gladiators travel to Ossett Albion on Saturday (2 pm) and Shaw Lane Aquaforce seven days later and it seems he will be treating these matches as a dress rehearsal for the Frickley clash.

“I’ll be treating these games as the real thing and not making all the changes I’ve made in the games so far” said Hume after Tuesday night’s 4-1 defeat by a strong Sheffield United line up.

“The games so far have taught me a great deal and I know who can play with who but there’s no point now in making substitutions just to get people on, it’s important that we’re ready for when the league starts and that people get the game time they need.”

Hume enjoyed what he saw against United whose manager Nigel Adkins was present to oversee a side that was made up virtually of players with first team experience.

“It was a good work out against a good and strong Sheffield side and I was very pleased with our performance” Hume added after taking his squad on a boot camp training mission on Saturday instead of fulfilling another fixture.

There was one very familiar face in the Blades squad on Tuesday in Jamie McDonagh, a striker on loan at the Autoworld Arena from United last season and who had netted a stunning hat-trick in the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final thrashing of Gresley.

This time the boot was on the other foot as McDonagh came off the bench to replace the injured Matt Done and then score twice plus coming perilously close to a hat-trick with a bullet header against the crossbar.

“We saw again tonight what a player the lad is although it was very unfortunate for Matt Done and we wish him a speedy recovery. Jamie was there to crack in two goals, and like I said last season, he’ll become one hell of a player” said Hume.

Another striker is still high on Hume’s wanted list but he insists he will remain patient until the right man comes along.

“I know we need another striker but at the moment there’s no-one I like so there’s no point in wasting time and money bringing in someone for the sake of it. There’s a few tweaks we can make in what we’ve got now, I’m prepared to wait until I get the right player.”

Ian Richardson

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