Weekly News | 2.5.23
Martin Carruthers says the power of positivity inspired his Matlock Town side to qualify for the end of season play-offs in the Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division.
The Gladiators crept into the play-offs on the final day with a 1-0 Marine while both Hyde United and Radcliffe were defeated and although they were beaten 4-1 in the play-off semi final at eventual winners Warrington Town, they could still reflect on a good season.
“I’m a big believer in positivity” claimed Carruthers.
“The plan was always to get into the play-offs at the very least. We were just outside the play-offs when Wayne (Hallcro) and me arrived and there were difficulties along the way with injuries and players we wanted not being able to come to the club. But I knew there was a good set of players here even when some departed. With six games to go nobody gave us a chance of making the top five but that positivity that prevailed throughout those closing weeks from everybody saw us do it. I had a strange feeling that Hyde and Radcliffe would get beat and we’d win at Marine and that’s what happened.”
Carruthers of course, was Matlock’s third manager of the season. Paul Phillips was in charge at the start before leaving by mutual consent to be succeeded by former Boston United and Shaw Lane boss Craig Elliott who had the Gladiators in and around the play-off spots and actually leading the table at one point. But after the Gladiators went out of the Derbyshire Senior Cup to Buxton, the Silverlands side offered him the chance to return to management at National League North level and Elliott accepted the offer leaving the Gladiators to search for their third team boss of the campaign, Carruthers taking over the managerial reins.
Did Carruthers feel any pressure in the quest to keep Matlock in the play-off hunt?
“There’s always pressure for you come into a club where there’s players you don’t know and you’ve not seen play. Some left, Kallan Murphy and Alex Wiles for example which came as a shock to the system and trying to bring players in during the Christmas period is hard enough for any manager, never mind someone who’s new to a club. But we knew this was too good an opportunity to miss and so it’s proved.”
Carruthers outlined the challenges he faced on joining the Gladiators in early December.
“We knew all about the football club, we’d spoken with Glenn Kirkwood (former joint manager) who said what a great club Matlock is. We knew we had to get in and build a relationship with the squad and the people at the club. At the first training session in Manchester we told all the lads that everyone ‘s starting with a clean slate, everyone had the opportunity to prove themselves and ninety five per cent of them went with it. We could see there was a good squad there so it was more of a matter of a few tweaks here and there. They’ve performed magnificently, they showed real character and did absolutely everything we’d asked of them.”
Carruthers says that he feels that Hallcro and himself are gradually putting their own stamp on how the team performs but he is looking towards the close season to cement that even further.
“We moved the training venue and have worked on fitness and shape and spent more attention to detail on set pieces. When I look at things now, I feel we only need two or three players and with a good pre season we can push on and hit the ground running.”