Weekly News - 27.7.22
Who’d be a non league football manager?
Matlock boss Paul Phillips is currently experiencing the trials and tribulations and frustration in managing a non league side as he does his utmost to prepare them for a new campaign which is just a couple of weeks away.
Injuries and player unavailability in the build up have hit the Gladiators’ pre season preparations particularly hard this time round.
For instance, mainstays Al Byrne, Reece Kendall and Mark Lees all missed Matlock’s first win of pre-season at Ramsbottom in midweek through holidays and Alex Wiles leaves for his break abroad on Thursday.
While Kendall and Lees are back in time for Friday’s home meeting with Derby County U23’s, Byrne isn’t and Ryan Qualter will also be missing due to a pre-arranged break.
“Last year we didn’t have these kinds of problems as nobody was booking anything due to Covid. But now people want their holidays and I fully get that, we’ve got lads in the teaching profession who can only go away at this time of year and now people are going abroad again now, we’re facing problems we didn’t have this time last year.”
The Gladiators had to pull out of their two preceeding friendllies at Macclesfield and Alfreton, The oven like weather conditions saw both sides agree to postpone the Macclesfield fixture while Matlock had a long list of injury and holiday absentees meaning that they reluctantly had to call off their visit to the Impact Arena.
The Gladiators included three trialists in their squad at Ramsbottom, plus recent signings Reon Potts and Remi Efunnuga, subject to FA and NPL approval..
20 years old striker Potts was released by York City during the summer and last season was on loan at Ossett United, He has featured in earlier games in Town’s pre season campaign.
Six foot plus midfielder Efunnuga has been with Stoke City and Phillips says he’s one for the future.
“He’s big and athletic and only 17 so he’s one we’ll look to bring on and we could dual reg him with another club, he can get forward and score goals from midfield” Phillips explained.
What Tuesday at Ramsbottom showed more clearly than anything is that Matlock are still crying out for a goalscorer.
“We need a forward and we’ll continue to work on that. Because of the holiday and injury situation we’ve not really settled down yet. We played some good stuff, we defended well and the young lads that came in did very well while I thought Callum Chippendale and Alex Wiles were outstanding. Jake Day scored his goal and we need Reon Potts to start scoring goals. He went out to a lower side on Monday and scored twice, hopefully that’ll give him some confidence. But as far as taking chances on Tuesday is concerned, I thought it was deja-vu, we’re doing our best to resolve this.”
Forward Aaron Opoku is currently on the injured list while the unlucky wing back Joe Ferguson was brought off again just 32 minutes into the game at Ramsbottom.
Phillips believes that his squad will look ore settled by the time they face Carlton in their final friendly on Saturday week, but he may try and fit in another game before the big kick-off.