GLADIATORS: Matlock Town appoint interim duo on permanent basis

Stepping Forward: Matlock Town chairman Tom Wright pictured on the new advertising steps in The Twigg Stand at the Reynolds Stadium.
Stepping Forward: Matlock Town chairman Tom Wright pictured on the new advertising steps in The Twigg Stand at the Reynolds Stadium.

Dave Rushbury and Martin Foster will jointly hold the managerial reins at Matlock Town who confirmed their promotion from caretaker positions on Wednesday night.

The duo initially took charge of the Gladiators on a temporary basis after Mark Atkins’ resignation following a poor start to the campaign culminating in a 4-0 home reverse to Halesowen Town on October 4.

Ironically Matlock’s next opponents are Halesowen as the Gladiators travel to the West Midlands for an FA Trophy clash on Saturday.

Their caretaker spell brought three wins, a draw and two defeats in six games played.

Chairman Tom Wright confirmed Rushbury and Foster’s appointment.

“We’ve had a good set of candidates but Dave and Martin interviewed very well and have made an excellent impression so far. There seems to be a real buzz in the camp and we hope everyone will give them their full support in achieving the priority of moving up the league.”

Rushbury has previous managerial experience while for Foster this is his first managerial job.

Foster returned briefly from a family holiday in Scotland for the interview and Tuesday’s 3-0 home win over Frickley Athletic before traveling back over the border, so Rushbury acted as spokesman for the duo.

“We’re very pleased and very happy and are accepting the job on the premise that we will move forward as a club and get out of the relegation zone. We also look forward to developing the players we have throughout the club and that excites us. In the short term we need to consolidate towards mid table and then we need to maintain that for the rest of the season and then move forward next season.”

Rushbury (58) played over 400 Football League games including spells at Sheffield Wednesday, West Bromwich Albion and Carlisle United before managing Chesterfield and becoming Director Of Football at Alfreton Town. He is currently a Sports Lecturer at Chesterfield College and came to Matlock in the summer to replace Mick Cunningham as physio.

News of his appointment was the perfect birthday present for Foster who was 37 years old on Wednesday. The midfielder has been at Matlock for two seasons having spent most of his earlier career in the Conference with the likes of Forest Green Rovers, Halifax, Oxford United and Tamworth.

Rushbury believes there is enough talent at Matlock to get out of trouble but issued a firm message to the players.

“We’ve inherited a good bunch of players and that’s a tremendous credit to the previous regime. Moving forward we want to stamp our own philosophy and identity and we hope that the players take on board what we tell them so for them it’s a case of either sink or swim. Hopefully it’ll be swim for they’ve been fantastic for us so far.”