Evo-Stik League Premier club Matlock Town`s joint boss Glenn Kirkwood is looking no further ahead than Saturday’s trip to Farsley Celtic as the Gladiators begin a tough five-match schedule into the New Year.
All of their next five opponents are potential title winners or play-off candidates. A trip to league leaders Altrincham follows on Saturday week before local rivals Buxton are at the DCJ Group Arena on Boxing Day, and then 2017 ends with a home meeting with fourth-placed Warrington Town and 2018 starts with a visit to second in the table Grantham Town.
Farsley are currently seventh, five points ahead of the Gladiators, and after winning promotion from the First Division North via the play-offs, have made a solid start to life in the top tier and Kirkwood takes little notice that the Celts have lost their last two league games to Sutton Coldfield Town and Hednesford Town.
“They’ve come up and done really well despite losing their top scorer James Walshaw to Scarborough Athletic, but they’ve got a good replacement Nathan Cartman from Darlington. They might have lost their last two matches but they’re a good side. We had a big sticky patch. Farsley will be eager to get out of it and be wanting the win just as we are.”
After the cold snap caused last weekend’s home clash with Rushall Olympic to be postponed, Kirkwood is hoping his troops can rediscover the encouraging form which before the enforced break saw them beat Halesowen Town and Lancaster City and play well in a narrow Derbyshire Senior Cup defeat at Alfreton Town.
“We were brilliant at Lancaster but that’s gone now, and we have to look ahead to Saturday. The lads have trained hard, the weather looks as if it’ll be okay for Saturday and hopefully we’ll be on. We wanted to play last Saturday with confidence being high and with us playing well so it was a blow that it was off as we wanted to carry on the momentum and climb that table.”
Striker Ricky German has been recalled by Chesterfield and although Kirkwood added there was nothing concrete, there may be a new player in for Saturday.
“Ricky did really well for us, he’s a good lad who will do well in the future,” said Kirkwood.