the npl

Weekly News | 29.3.23

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Weekly News | 29.3.23

Martin Carruthers hopes that the enforced two weeks break can rejuvenate his side as they embark on the last lap of the Pitching In NPL Premier Division season.

The Gladiators were last in action losing 2-1 at ten man Marske United on March 18, this coming a week after another disappointing performance and a 4-1 loss at Whitby.

Other results since and with the Gladiators having a free day last Saturday mean that their chances of making the end of season play-offs are now slim with the gap to the final play off slot being nine points.

“Realistically we need to win six out of six to reach seventy points and even then, that might not be enough” admitted Carruthers.

But even with the realism in those comments, Carruthers says his side is prepared to give it a go, the first of those games coming at relegation threatened Liversedge on Saturday before Marine are the visitors to the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday.

“We have to keep going because in this league you never know, especially with sides up there playing each other. It’s a tough ask but in any case we want to finish the season on a high. When I arrived at the club I targeted seventy points and now as a bare minimum I’d like 64 points with four wins out of the last six.”

The result at Marske will be fresh in the minds of every Gladiator as Carruthers’ men face a similar sort of challenge on Saturday. Liversedge have proved in recent games that they are not going to go down without a fight, coming from two goals down at Marske to earn a point, giving a good account of themselves in a 3-1 loss at Warrington Town last Saturday before thrashing Atherton Colleries on the road 4-0 on Tuesday evening.

“We’ve already seen at Marske what can happen when you face a team whose fighting for their lives,avoiding relegation can be as important as promotion. No team is going to lie down and it’s a big difference I’ve noticed from the Southern League, games are always tight, it’s the culture of this league. It’s vital we go there fully prepared and ready to play tour full capability and return home with three points. Then hopefully we can carry that on into the Marine game and the games beyond and show everyone we’re still a decent side.”

Carruthers said the break was welcome.

“It’s been good, it’s given us the chance to recuperate and recharge our batteries and the opportunity for the injuries to clear up. We’ve had some good training sessions and on Saturday we had a team bonding day after training in Matlock which was great”.

In some ways it was like an international break with recently signed striker Reece Styche away with Gibraltar to play European Championship qualifiers against Greece and Holland.

“It’s great for Reece and the club to have a player involved in the internationals, he got on against Greece but not against Holland but hopefully he’ll be back firing and ready to go at Liversedge.”

Matlock have only one slight injury concern ahead of Saturday (Connor Dimaio’s long lay -off excepted) with winger John Johnston having a slight achilles problem but that means that recent injury affected Dan Bradley, Al Byrne, Karl Demidh and Brad Wells should all be fit for selection on Saturday. Johnston is currently under the care of physio Andy Henson but Carruthers expects Johnston to also recover in time for the weekend.

Transfer deadline day came and went with the addition of two youngsters to the Gladiators squad.

Midfielder Sam Hooper and utility player Archie White both signed on the dotted line on loan from Chesterfield, having shown impressive form for Staveley MW earlier this campaign.

Hooper has made just the one first team appearance for Chesterfield, in the 3-1 FA Trophy defeat by Coalville Town earlier this season when fellow Chesterfield youngster and current Gladiator Alex Duhumeau also played.

White is the son of former Matlock favourite Rockie White, a brilliant midfield player who was at Matlock twenty years ago, his starring role coming in the League Cup Final win at Whitby Town in April 2005 where he scored twice in a 3-1 Matlock win.

Rockie expressed his delight in a tweet reading “Proud of our Archie signing for a great club very close to my heart”

“I looked at a couple more signings but with people coming back, we have a squad of twenty with Sam and Archie so we think we have the cover now. I’m delighted to bring Sam and Archie in, Archie of course has connections to the club through his Dad Rockie. They’ve both looked sharp in training and will be good additions for us.”

Meanwhile defender Jaz Goundry has gone back to parent club Grimsby Town and has since been loaned out to Grimsby Borough. Former Town midfielder Simon Njaria has joined former manager Steve Kittrick at Basford United.

Ian Richardson