Can a fantastic February continue into a marvellous March for Matlock Town under new boss Mark Hume?

That’s the question that all Gladiators fans are asking following a month which saw five league wins on the bounce and a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final victory over Glossop North End.

Hume is confident that Matlock’s hot run of form can carry on, despite what on paper looks to be a tougher set of fixtures during the coming month.The Matlock boss added that his side missing out on the NPL Premier Division Team Of the Month award, which went to new league leaders FC United of Manchester, who picked up six wins on the trot, is not a cause for argument, even though the Gladiators could have done absolutely nothing more to collect the accolade.

“Let’s face it there’s no easy games in this division and to be honest Nantwich at home last Saturday proved to be a harder game for us than going to Skelmersdale who were top at the time” said Hume.

“Whoever we play will provide tough opposition and it’s not been easy playing the sides around us given the importance of the matches. I can’t see why we can’t carry on performing as we have been doing and collecting the points, provided that we continue to do the right things. We’re not leaking massive amounts of goals and we’re catching teams on the break and creating chances, so we’re doing well.”

” As for the team of there month I’m not the slightest bit bothered although I’m very pleased for Karl (Marginson) at FC United. It’s not about me, it’s us as a team. The objective has and will continue to be to keep Matlock Town up this season. I don’t need awards, I just want to do the job I came to do.”

The latest league win was by a 2-1 margin against Nantwich Town at the Autoworld Arena, a result which saw Matlock climb to fifteenth in the table. But in midweek came a timely reminder for Town that there is still plenty of work to do as fellow strugglers Witton Albion beat Stourbridge and Frickley Athletic picked up a useful point at Barwell.

“We played well in the first half and Nantwich didn’t have a lot of answers then but their manager changed things at half time and by employing almost a 4-2-4 and going gung-ho, it nearly worked for them. Nantwich were on top for twenty or so minutes in the second half and although we were a bit slack for their goal, we were generally tight and in the end it was a good win. But we did stop playing, Ted (Cribley) couldn’t get hold of the ball and he’s a lad that makes things happen for us, but overall we deserved it. Jamie (McDonagh) and Danny (Frost) had chances, 3-0 and the game would have been over, we didn’t take them and at 2-0 a game can be tricky. We’re better going at teams than protecting what we’ve got.”

McDonagh added Matlock’s second goal after yet another direct free kick from Otis Khan, scoring in this fashion for the third successive league game, had given the hosts the lead.

“He’s doing good for us and I’m very pleased wit him and the other lads that have come in. Otis can play out wide and down the middle, he’s got great versatility and because we’ve four good strikers and four wingers, it gives us good options and we can mix them up to any formation.”

McDonagh’s loan expired last weekend but this is being extended and Hume says Cribley’s loan period is also likely to go on longer, although parent club Barrow might need him as the season draws to a close.

Striker Danny Frost (27) joined on a month’s loan from Bradford Park Avenue last Friday, having been leading scorer for the Conference North club. Hume had been tracking him for a while.

“I spoke to John (Deacey) at Bradford about him and it’s a case of a change of formation hasn’t helped Danny. He needs games and he’ll get more game time at Matlock, I know the lad well taking him to Bradford from Shaw Lane Aquaforce. He adds to the already great changing room we have, we don’t want that spoiling by having people with big egos coming in.”

Corey Gregory has been told he is free to find another club but Hume has not ruled out a return to Matlock for Gregory at some point.

“He needs to play football, things haven’t quite clicked for him, but he’s a great lad. It pained me to tell him but you never know, we might look at him again in the summer. He’s definitely got something but at the moment we need lads who can give us something instantly.”

Hume expects to have a fully fit squad for two successive away games at mid table Rushall Olympic on Saturday and King’s Lynn Town on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile the Town chief says his “pop and crisps” comments after the win at Glossop were misunderstood.

“I wasn’t referring to Glossop’s league or Glossop FC, more the players and what went off. If the comments caused offence, I’m sorry, there was no disrespect intended to their club or their league.”

Ian Richardson

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