THE PREVIEW | Mickleover FC Vs MTFC - Pitching In NPL - 19/3/22
Matlock Town make the short trip to Derby on Saturday to play Mickleover in the Northern Premier League Premier Division at a crucial stage of the season. With the finishing line of the 2021/22 season now in sight, every single point gained is vital.
The Gladiators come into this game in third position in the league table and sit six points behind leaders Buxton; however, Matlock do still have a game in hand on both the Bucks and South Shields who occupy second position. After collecting only one point from the last six available (with both of these games at home too), Paul Phillips's men will be desperate for a win on Saturday to keep their title hopes alive.
Mickleover currently lie third from bottom in 20th position in the NPL Premier Division league table. In their most recent game, the south Derbyshire outfit lost 3-1 away from home to Morpeth Town in the league. In their most recent game at home, they lost 2-1 to promotion contenders Scarborough Athletic. Despite an excellent January and first half of February, Mickleover are now on a run of three games without a win which has seen them sucked back into a relegation battle.
Mickleover were founded in 1948 and are affectionately known as 'Sports'. They play their home games at the Don Amott Arena (named after the club's chairman) which is situated in the Mickleover suburb of Derby. The stadium can hold up to 1,500 spectators and has a seated capacity of 280.
The club's manager is former Aston Villa and Burton Albion player John McGrath. McGrath also made five appearances for the Republic of Ireland U21 side. The 41 year-old has been in charge of Mickleover since 2016.
The last trophy Mickleover lifted was the Northern Premier League Division One South league title back in the 2014-15 season.
One to Watch
Veteran forward Stuart Beavon will be a key player to look out for on Saturday afternoon.
The 37 year-old has previously played for the likes of Wycombe Wanderers, Preston North End and Coventry City. Beavon won the FA Vase with Didcot Town in the 2004-05 season and also won the Football League Trophy with Coventry City in the 2016-17 campaign.
Beavon scored a hat-trick last month in Mickleover's 4-1 league victory over Radcliffe at the Don Amott Arena.
Skipper Liam Hughes is suspended for the game at Mickleover.
Alex Wiles and Liam King may miss the game through injury.
Shaun Rowley has left Matlock Town to join Carlton Town while Riece Bertram has departed the Gladiators to go back to Belper Town.
The two sides last played each other on the fifth of October earlier this season in the NPL Premier Division.
The Gladiators won the game 1-0 at The Proctor Cars Stadium.
Liam Hughes scored the only goal of the game that was watched by a crowd of 605.