the npl

Weekly News - 26/2/20

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Weekly News - 26/2/20

Matlock boss Paul Phillips admitted that fixture congestion is becoming “ a massive worry” after their scheduled league trip to Mickleover Sports was postponed for a third time this season.

The pitch at the Don Amott Arena was waterlogged after heavy downpours following Sports’ Saturday postponement at home to Gainsborough Trinity.

The Gladiators still have seventeen league matches to fit in before the BetVictor NPL season closes on Saturday 25 April, plus they are still involved in the Integro NPL Cup, having reached the quarter final stage meaning there could be potentially three more games to add to the list. They will be hoping that Saturday’s clash at Atherton Colleries gets the green light.

“It’s a massive worry, in fact it’s becoming a nightmare especially when you look at this week’s forecast. No disrespect intended but it’s not the greatest of pitches at Atherton and as a manager I have to look at getting the balance right especially with the cut off date when I can sign players. I had ten injuries going into last Saturday’s game, who’s to say we don’t pick up a load more injuries with the games we’ve got. We’re a long way behind some other clubs and you just can’t keep good players on tap in case they’re needed.”

Phillips made a significant signing ahead of the postponed Mickleover match, bringing in 20 years old goalkeeper Kyle Trenerry from Farsley Celtic. Trenerry began his career with FC Halifax Town before moving to Farsley when he played a key role in Farsley’s NPL championship winning side last season. The addition of Trenery came after winger Jude Oyibo, formerly with Phillips at Stalybridge, Glossop and Buxton, joined from Alfreton and central defender Ellis Roberts was signed from Southport after a five years spell in America,

“Jake Greatorex’s loan will soon be up and with the games Barnsley have, they want him back and of course we thank Barnsley for their help in letting us have Jake.” explained Phillips.

“We’re not exactly sure how long Jon Stewart will be out for although I know he wants to get back as soon as possible. With all the games we have we wanted to be sure we had good cover in the goalkeeping department, Kyle has good Conference North experience and he’s here to push Jon for the number one spot.”

The Matlock boss is likely to be active further in the transfer market, and as soon as the Mickleover game was called off he was off to another game to watch another player, thought to be a striker.

The Gladiators’ 2-0 home defeat to Whitby not only kept them narrowly out of the relegation zone, but highlighted the need for someone to put away the numerous chances Matlock created.

“My staff and me have never been off the phone trying to get someone in, everyone else though is looking for the same thing and it’s a matter of keeping one step ahead all the time. We made chances on Saturday, Marcus Marshall had one, Pooley hit the post, Jude (Oyibo) was off target but we’ve not taken them which means we can’t make any mistakes at the back. Against Radcliffe we defended well from the front and took four chances, we want more of these kinds of games.”

Atherton are second bottom after Basford scored a late winner against them last weekend, three points behind Matlock having played the same number of games. Both Grantham and Stafford are below Matlock having played four and five more games respectively. Phillips though again emphasised the importance of picking up some league wins as soon as possible.

“Every game’s a must win game at the moment. I know we’ve got games in hand but it’s important everyone does their jobs. Last Saturday I thought we did enough to get a draw if not win the game, we need one or two ugly wins, how we get them doesn’t really matter.”

Spencer Harris will be back in the squad having missed the Whitby defeat following an operation on his broken nose last Friday. Striker Luke Hinsley’s ankle injury will be assessed at training on Thursday, when young striker Ben Edgson will resume training after a long lay-off. Brian Wilson is “touch and go” for Saturday but Jack Rea may not feature again this season.

“The burden’s getting a little less but we need reinforcements in certain areas” said Phillips who praised the support at the Whitby game (460 were in attendance) but asked that fans stay behind the team.

“We had a good crowd in again on Saturday, as a club we all need to keep on pulling together, We’ve had a lot of bad luck recently so we need the fans to stay behind us. We’ve gone through a lot of difficult things but we’ll get there, the process has started, it’ll just take a bit of time for it to finish.”

The Gladiators are at home again on Tuesday night when Morpeth Town make their first ever visit to the Proctor Cars Stadium.

Ian Richardson.