Rams winger Richards answers an SOS call from Matlock boss
DERBY County winger Kane Richards and striker Shaun Tuton have been drafted into Matlock Town's squad for tomorrow's trip to Stafford Rangers as the Gladiators' injury crisis deepens.
Manager Mark Atkins now has nine first-team regulars facing lengthy spells on the sidelines after injuries to Gareth Davies and Bradley Grayson during the past week.
The addition of Richards, who played for the Rams as they drew 2-2 with Leeds United in the Under-21 Professional Development League last week, and Tuton, who is on a dual registration with Teversal, will come as a timely boost for a Matlock side who have conceded 13 goals in just four games, scoring twice.
Atkins has come in for criticism on the club's website after the Gladiators' miserable start to the season.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
But with long-term injuries to nine first-team players, he says that times really are tough.
"I'm no making excuses for our defeats but any side losing that many players would struggle," said Atkins, "that's not an excuse it's a fact.
"However, we've still got to do better on the pitch.
"It's very easy and human nature to criticise but what we want now is for everyone pulling in the same direction.
"Whatever happens, you can't please some people but the players have to get us out of this.
"They have to fight for Matlock Town Football Club which they did for an hour against Rushall on Bank Holida Monday, so I was more pleased with us in that game.
"I had to play players out of position in that game – there has been no other option.
"We've had a tough start, playing two teams who will be up there and another who have made a great start with four wins now."
There has been a call for Atkins to play more youngsters in his side and with the addition of Richards and Tuton, the average age of the squad will definitely decrease for tomorrow's game.
However, Atkins is reluctant to play too many of his young stars.
"Joe Leesley and Brad Grayson have both been given starts but are not quite ready for regular games at this level," he said.
"Playing kids in this league will see you getting absolutely hammered, more than we've been already. It's now more physical than it's ever been and a really good league."