Top scorer McMahon a doubt as Gladiators seek home comfort
MATLOCK Town go in search of only their third home league win of the season against Grantham Town tomorrow – and they may have to do it without leading goalscorer Lewis McMahon.
The Gladiators are 19th in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, two places and two points above their opponents but with four games in hand.
McMahon is suffering with a stiff neck and back after the 4-0 defeat at Blyth Spartans last Saturday and will have a late fitness test, along with defender Adam Yates (hip) and midfielder Gareth Davies (ankle).
Manager Mark Atkins is hoping for a rare home win to drag his side away from the danger zone.
"It'll be tough but we've got to be looking for three points and a good performance," he said.
"We really should have won our last home game, against Buxton on New Year's Day.
"We passed the ball well and put in a good performance so, hopefully, we can take that into the Grantham game."
Atkins was left disappointed after last Saturday's defeat by Blyth, a game he feels his side should have taken something from.
"We started well but didn't take our chances," he said.
"They scored from their first attack. A set-piece again cost us for their second goal. We should have dealt with the situation far better.
"It's our Achilles heel and very worrying. People have men to pick up and have to be mentally and physically stronger and say 'my man isn't going to score'."
Returning to Matlock ahead of tomorrow's game is 27-year-old winger Ben Hunter, who joins from leaders North Ferriby United.
"I've had my eye on Ben's situation for two or three weeks now," said Atkins.
"We know what he's about. He's done well for Ferriby but has been frozen out a bit with all the players they've been signing.
"I'm sure he'll be an asset for us and offer us something positive on the left wing."
As Hunter came in, midfielder Glyn Cotton went through the exit door to Belper Town.
"Glyn wanted a move so it wasn't fair to involve him against Buxton over players who want to stay with us," added Atkins.
"He's got his move to Belper and we move on."
After the Grantham game, Matlock return to action on Tuesday night when they play host to Borrowash Victoria in the quarter-final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup (7.45pm).
The Gladiators are favourites to win the tie but must take their opponents seriously, with Borrowash flying high in the East Midlands Counties League and having beaten Evo-Stik Premier League side New Mills in the previous round.
A place in the semi-final of the county cup is important, especially to the supporters.
And Atkins says he is taking the competition seriously.
"It's an important game for us and one we won't be taking lightly," he said.