Matlock Town boss Paul Phillips plays down derby day significance

Matlock Town manager Paul Phillips says the Gladiators will be treating this coming Monday's top of the table home derby with Buxton as they would any other (writes Ian Richardson)

By Mark Duffy
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 9:22 am
Paul Phillips doesn't think Monday's derby with Buxton will make or break the season for either side.
Paul Phillips doesn't think Monday's derby with Buxton will make or break the season for either side.

It's without doubt the match of the day in the NPL Premier Division, visiting Buxton being two points ahead of Matlock, both sides having played 21 matches to reach the half way point of the campaign in terms of games completed.

But Phillips was keen to play down its significance at this stage of the campaign.

He said: "We'll be treating it like any other game, one we want to win, a three point game. We know we'll go back to the top if we win and if the result goes the other way Buxton will have a five point lead.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

"Of course it's a local derby which gives it extra spice but the be all and end all is that we're playing for three points and the result won't make or break our season. The shoe though is on our foot to make the running."

Phillips was the Buxton boss before being appointed as the Gladiators manager in January 2020 and Matlock also have others in their ranks with Buxton connections in Callum Chippendale, Alex Byrne, Alex Wiles and Kayde Coppin.

Phillips said: "It's not about individuals, it's about the bigger picture and we don't need any extra incentive just because we're playing Buxton. If people do, they're in the wrong business.

"I haven't a bad word to say about Buxton, it's all about us getting back to winning ways after last Saturday's defeat to York and carrying on from where we left off when we won our last league match at Stalybridge a fortnight ago.

"If we can play like we did last Saturday but be a bit more clinical we'll win a lot of our games."

Covid-19 and the new Omricron variant is lurking in the background with the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments ruling games are having to be played without spectators.

Both clubs will be desperate for the derby to go ahead under normal conditions with a bumper crowd expected to show up at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

Phillips said it would be ‘massively disappointing’ if the game is called off and eventually the season curtailed with Matlock making a strong push for promotion.

Assuming that all is well for Monday, Phillips agreed that the side that handles the occasion better, and not necessarily the fact that there will be a big crowd, has the better chance of success.

He said: "I hope we have the majority of the spectators and obviously we'd want to make home advantage count. We got a good crowd in last Saturday and have had good attendances all season.

"Both teams have some experienced lads so while the crowd won't be a massive factor, I agree that the occasion element is important. For me we need to ensure we keep eleven men on the pitch, keep our discipline and not get carried away with any silly tackles."

On loan midfielder Matt Sargent and forward Luke Hall have left the Gladiators.

Sargent has returned to parent club Salford City while Hall, who joined the Gladiators from Sheffield only a month ago, has returned to the world's oldest club.”