Matlock Town happy to be underdogs for York City FA Trophy tie

Paul Phillips says his Matlock Town side will be taking Saturday’s mouth-watering FA Trophy third round home clash with National League North side York City seriously, despite having ambitions of promotion from the NPL Premier Division (writes Ian Richardson)

By Mark Duffy
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 10:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 10:34 am
Paul Phillips has his eye on beating York City this weekend. Photo: Craig Lamont.
Paul Phillips has his eye on beating York City this weekend. Photo: Craig Lamont.

After last week’s league matches, the Gladiators lie second, two points behind leaders Buxton having played a game more, Matlock’s 2-0 win at Stalybridge Celtic strengthening their position near the top with Bamber Bridge losing 2-0 at home to Scarborough Athletic and South Shields also being beaten on home soil, 2-1 by Hyde United.

Matlock host the Bucks at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Monday, December 27 (3pm).

Phillips acknowledges that York will start as favourites to win but he hopes his side will have something up their sleeve to cause a shock against a side who have twice won the FA Trophy and been runners-up once.

“We want to win the game on Saturday,” Phillips insisted.

“We want to win both the York and the Buxton games but for the moment it’s the York game we’ll be concentrating on and we’ll start thinking about Buxton next week.

"We let the club down massively against Belper in the FA Cup and we wanted a good run in the Trophy to make up for that performance the best we could.

"York will start as favourites, they’re a big club especially at this level. We’re quite happy to be labelled as underdogs but make no mistake the lads are up for it and want to go further in the competition.”

Recent signing, goalkeeper Dan Wallis, is cup tied for Saturday and with Paul Cooper carrying a slight injury, Phillips is hoping to bring in a replacement goalkeeper on loan.

Matlock’s other goalkeeper Alfie Roberts has been recalled from his loan spell by parent club Derby County. There has been a Covid outbreak in the Rams’ camp and Roberts was on the bench for Derby’s 1-0 home win over Blackpool last Saturday.

Also missing is captain Liam Hughes who serves the second of a two match ban following his red card at the end of the home defeat by Stafford Rangers.

But Phillips is hoping that midfielder Luke Daly might be fit to play a part.

The former South Shields midfielder has only made one substitute appearance at Morpeth Town since joining Matlock nearly a month ago. Since then he has been hit by illness.

Phillips said: “It’s not been Covid but he’s been laid low with a bad chest infection. He was down for the Stafford game but still didn’t feel in top form and he warmed up with the players last week at Stalybridge before going for a good run with one of our training staff.

"The weather against Stafford and Stalybridge wasn’t ideal for him to feature after feeling poorly but we’re hoping he’ll be able to be involved on Saturday.”

Matlock are expecting big crowds for both the York and Buxton matches and Phillips praised the 80 or so Matlock fans who travelled to Stalybridge on Saturday.

He said: “I thought I might have put my foot in it saying we get a good following but they’re not that vocal, but on Saturday the supporters were fantastic, at both ends of the ground, and they really got behind us, so well done to them.”