It’s another crunch weekend for Matlock Town in their fight to beat the drop as fellow strugglers Marine come to the Autoworld Arena on Saturday.

Seeing the Mariners, a place and three points behind Matlock, in the relegation places is a strange sight, given that they have traditionally been one of the leading Premier Division sides over the years.

For Matlock though, it’s another crucial home clash at the start of a potentially season shaping February which sees further home clashes against relegation rivals Belper Town and Nantwich Town, plus a trip to leaders Skelmersdale United and the return meeting with Marine on Merseyside.

Having beaten Witton Albion 3-0 in their last home game, Matlock could not build on that result in terms of points collection as they went down to the only goal of the gamer in a scrappy affair at mid table Stourbridge last weekend.

“Marine’s another big game and from our point of view we need to replicate what we did in the Witton game” said manager Mark Hume.

“We’ve got to go out there and attack and let Marine know we’re the home side for it’s a game we really need to win.”

The Stourbridge defeat saw Matlock use up their game in hand over fifth bottom and temporarily safe Witton whose home fixture against Skelmersdale was called off.

Matlock really need to start converting some chances and Hume, well aware of this weakness, is working hard to increase his side’s attacking options and ultimately solve the conundrum.

Jamie McDonough, who can operate wide or as a central attacker, is a Northern Ireland youth international and became the third Sheffield United youngster to come to Matlock since Hume’s arrival, following Otis Khan and Julian Banton. McDonough signed on Friday and made his debut as a second half substitute at Stourbridge.

Hume remains hopeful of at least one further striking addition ahead of the Marine six pointer.

“The first thing I identified when I took over was that we needed at least a couple more attack minded players. Some have already come in and I want to add to them this week whether on loan or getting people here more permanently. Last weekend’s game was decided by a good free kick, we did okay at the back and to be fair we kept on working to the end to ry and get something. In the two defeats I don’t think anyone can knock us for not having a go, we’ve not accepted defeat, we’ve carried on to the final whistle, so that’s a little positive. But we need that cutting edge, someone who can nick something even from a half chance or can come from midfield and get a few goals.”

Hume has sent rookie forward Andre Johnson to Evo-Stik NPL First Division South Rainworth Miners Welfare, the striker who signed from Worksop in November having hit sixteen goals for the Tigers, has struggled to make an impact two levels higher up the pyramid.

“He needs games at a reasonably good level, I know the Rainworth manager and it’ll do him good playing there, we also have the option to bring him back if needed” Hume explained.

Otis Khan, called up by Pakistan for their international with Afghanistan this weekend, may be available to Hume after all on Saturday.

“He’s had to have some injections and we don’t know at the moment whether there’s been long enough for them to work so we’ll have to wait and see” added Hume who apart from Phil Roe, should have a virtually fully fit squad to take on Marine.

While changes could be made up front, defensively it should be “same again” for Matlock.

“We’ve only conceded two goals in three games so we’ve tightened things up again as we we’d been conceding a few before. Muhammed (Sabo) and Julian (Banton) have done ever so well and we have a quality lad like Adam Yates waiting in the wings, so defensively I’ve been quite pleased with us.”

Ian Richardson

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