Matlock Town boss Dave Rushbury urges players to go out and enjoy Christmas games

Matlock vs Rushall - Dave Rushbury - Pic By James Williamson
Matlock vs Rushall - Dave Rushbury - Pic By James Williamson

Joint Matlock Town boss Dave Rushbury is urging his players to go out and enjoy themselves ahead of the crunch five-game festive programme.

Town kick off the hectic run of games on Saturday with a crucial battle against fellow strugglers Trafford at the Autoworld Arena.

Trafford are in second bottom spot, with Matlock three places higher and six points better off.

And Rushbury has even instructed the Matlock squad to turn up wearing festive gear and has called upon club officials and fans to follow suit.

“Let’s all embrace the Christmas spirit and make Saturday a fun and really enjoyable day,” said Rushbury.

“It’s a six pointer, but it’s still relatively early in the season. Put it this way I wouldn’t want to go into the last game of the season wanting a positive result to stay in the league.

“It’s another football match that we can go and win, there’s no point whatsoever in piling pressure on anyone.

“We want to go out there on Saturday, play well, express ourselves and enjoy it. Hopefully we can collect all three points. The key this season is to keep away from the relegation area but also look to the future.”

While the late postponement of last Saturday’s game at Blyth Spartans was frustrating, with referee Helen Byrne calling the game off at 1.50 pm after Matlock had made the long trip north, Rushbury again saw a silver lining.

“It was frustrating for we were ready for Blyth both tactically and in terms of personnel,” he said.

“The lads felt good and confident of getting a good result. But it wasn’t to be and the approach was to make light of it.

“In fact the lads got a lot out of it, they went down to the beach, worked hard but enjoyed themselves.

“It was tough, they were made to sweat a lot but team spirit which was already great went up by about 20 per cent.”

The postponement gave Matlock a ten day break following their 2-0 home win over Buxton in the Derbyshire Senior Cup in midweek.

Now they have a busy couple of weeks. Visits to Buxton on Boxing Day and Ashton United on Sunday week follow the Trafford clash before Belper Town on New Years Day and Grantham Town on Saturday January 3rd visit the Autoworld Arena.

Added Rushbury: “The break’s been good, some of the other teams have been playing which evens the games played totals up a bit. We’ve a variety of games coming up, we’re not setting any targets but just taking each game as it comes and the squad’s ready to get stuck in.”

Club captain Liam Needham should return, most likely from the substitutes bench during the next week after a knee injury which has seen him out of action since the beginning of October.

Meanwhile former boss Mark Atkins is back in work having been appointed as Assistant Manager at one of his former clubs, Conference North outfit Stalybridge Celtic.

“Mark’s had a break but we knew it wouldn’t be long before became back” said Rushbury. “We’re all really pleased for him, he’s well capable of working at that level and a lot higher.”