Town down to bare bones as three join the injury list
MATLOCK Town boss Mark Atkins may have to do a head count as he takes a depleted squad to Nantwich Town tomorrow.
The Gladiators picked up three more injuries in Tuesday night's 2-1 win in the Doodson Sports League Cup against Carlton to add to a long list.
Atkins says that both Oscar Radford (ankle) and Anthony Griffiths-Junior (hamstring) look non-starters for the weekend and Martin Foster is rated as doubtful after taking a bang on his calf.
Atkins' problems are compounded by the fact that Laurence Gaughan begins a two-game ban after his red card against Ashton United a fortnight ago.
One small ray of hope is the possible return of Gareth Davies, who has missed the last seven matches since being floored in the defeat at Worksop on December 29.
"We'll be down to the bare bones so we'll have to see who's fit and available and pick a side accordingly," said the manager, who was pleased to emerge from the Carlton game with a win to earn an away tie at Grantham Town on February 26.
"We've picked up some bad injuries, we've battled away hard and I was pleased to win, although we were by no means excellent" he added.
Under-19 midfielder James Travis was drafted into the squad and made his first-team bow as a substitute at the start of the second half. Atkins picked him out for special praise.
"Games such as these are always difficult, as you try to decide who to use and who to rest," said Atkins.
"We had 13 fit players, so we brought James in.
"He's been training with the first-team squad and getting better and better as time's gone on.
"He played 45 minutes and certainly didn't look out of place. It's great to be able to put a home grown lad in the first team. He did very well."
However, it was more of a case of brickbats than bouquets from Atkins for his side when they dropped two needless points in a 3-3 draw at basement club Eastwood.
"We were looking to get three points and I told the lads beforehand not to take Eastwood lightly but in the first half, four or five of them were not in the game. They gave nowhere near maximum effort and it cost us badly," he said.
Atkins agreed that it was a better second-half display from the Gladiators but added: "It was disappointing to only draw but we've only ourselves to blame."
Town need to perform better at Nantwich, who thrashed them 5-0 on the opening day, and in Tuesday night's home Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final clash against Chesterfield.
Recently re-signed full-back Lee Featherstone, from Sheffield, should return after being cup tied in midweek.
Matlock have reduced admission prices for the Spireites' visit, with adults paying £7 instead of the usual £9. OAPs and children over 12 will be charged £5 and children under 12 £2.