Caretaker duo stake claim for Gladiators job

Danny Holland in action for Matlock against FC United on Tuesday night. Photo by Lizzi Lathrop.
Danny Holland in action for Matlock against FC United on Tuesday night. Photo by Lizzi Lathrop.
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“We’d like the job full time” was the message from interim joint bosses Dave Rushbury and Martin Foster following the scoreless home draw with FC United of Manchester on Tuesday which made it three games without defeat for Matlock Town.

Their caretaker era started with a disappointing defeat at Grantham but since then both Witton Albion and Stourbridge have been beaten 3-1 and 4-1 respectively prior to the FC United stalemate.

And Rushbury acted as spokesman as he revealed: “We’ve put in a last minute application as we needed to see the reaction of the players to our methods. The lads have been fantastic.

“We’ve been granted an interview but really our interview has also been about what has been happening on the pitch in our games in charge and we think it’s been really positive.”

“In the last three games we’ve taken seven out of the last nine points, scored seven goals and conceded just two which represents a good turnaround in our fortunes.

“To be honest we fancied ourselves to get good results in the two games prior to FC United, now we’ve played a top ten team and matched them.

“Yes, they’ve (FC United) had a lot of the ball and put it into good areas, and yes they’ve had a better level of fitness than us as their players have come down from a better level, but we’ve shown aggression and a willingness to work, particularly tonight in the first-half when the conditions were horrible and against us.

“But we created the best chance and I think Lavell White knows he should have put it away. Now the lads believe that if they can keep their goal intact we can score, even if it didn’t come on Tuesday night. Now we look a hard team to beat to get us out of the situation we’re in.”

Rushbury agreed it had been a resilient Gladiators performance adding: “But resilience doesn’t come cheaply. We’d all have been really disappointed if we’d have folded. I don’t think we were resilient enough before.

“These results are a cornerstone for what we’re going to be about in the next eight to ten games, whether we take over or not. I repeat, credit to the players, it’s their hard work once they get over that white line that has brought about the better results.”

Rushbury and Foster, along with the other interviewees, should not have long to discover their fate as chairman Tom Wright explained.

“We’ve had some really good applications and have sorted out the shortlist. Interviews are taking place over the next few days and we’ll be looking to make the appointment before the following weekend’s game,” he said.

Foster, who at 36-years-old is Matlock’s most senior player, had been helping out former boss Mark Atkins on the coaching side and is currently recovering and back in training from a broken leg sustained in a pre-season game at Handsworth Parramore.

Rushbury, 58, made over 400 Football League appearances including spells at West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday, before becoming manager at Chesterfield and director of football at Alfreton Town.

They take the Gladiators to Workington on Saturday before Frickley Athletic visit the Autoworld Arena on Tuesday night. A squint at the table shows these are both games they should be looking to win and if that proves to be the case, they may prove to be six precious points in the bag.

“It’s four hours there and four hours back on Saturday so they’ll have a steady time of it at training on Thursday as they’ve worked their socks off,” said Rushbury.

“But we’ll be preparing properly and looking to build on these last three results.

“As for Frickley we know they’re a strong unit, we know what they’re about and it’ll be tough but we’re improving and showing encouraging signs in competing well against whoever we play.”

On the playing front only skipper Liam Needham looks like missing out. David Haggerty returned as a second-half substitute against Stourbridge while Micky Harcourt made a brief appearance from the bench towards the end of the FC United draw with winger Jason Stokes coming on earlier after missing the last four games with an infected knee.

Work commitments ruled out midfielder Corey Gregory in midweek but he looks set for a recall at Borough Park.