PREVIEW: Matlock prepare to host Ashton United
Our Matlock Town writer Matthew Rhodes takes a look at this weekend's opponents, Ashton United:
Matlock Town host Ashton United on Saturday afternoon as they look to stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to five games.
The Gladiators had a rare Tuesday night off this week so they should be fresh and raring to go. Both teams are in the top half of the table at this very early stage of the season as Matlock remain unbeaten at home so far in this campaign while the Robins have not lost a league game so far.
Ashton United currently occupy eighth position in the NPL Premier Division league table after securing one win and two draws in their opening three league games.
The Robins began their league campaign with a 1-0 victory away at Stafford Rangers. This was followed by holding title favourites South Shields at home in an entertaining 3-3 draw. On Tuesday night this week, the Robins drew 0-0 at home against Bamber Bridge.
In the FA Cup, Ashton United knocked out Squires Gate in the preliminary round before an impressive 2-0 victory at Scarborough Athletic in the following round. Their cup run recently came to a screeching halt though as they were easily beaten 4-0 at home by South Shields in the second qualifying round.
Ashton United’s manager is former Manchester United and England U21 defender Michael Clegg. Clegg also played for the likes of Ipswich Town, Wigan Athletic and Oldham Athletic during his playing career. The 43 year-old has previously worked as a first-team strength and power coach at Manchester United.
The Robins were formed back in 1878 and play their home games at Hurst Cross in Ashton-under-Lyne which forms part of Manchester. Their ground can hold up to 4,500 people in normal circumstances with a seated capacity of 250.
Their most recent trophy victory came in 2011 when the club won the club won the NPL Challenge Cup.
One to Watch
Thirty-two-year-old midfielder Josh Wilson will be a key player to look out for in Saturday’s game. Wilson has scored two goals so far this season and has played for the likes of Guiseley, FC Halifax Town and AFC Fylde in his career. He joined the Robins from Chorley in July last year.
New Gladiators signing Cesaire Lingouba will be available to make his debut on Saturday. Danny Greenfield’s loan agreement has expired and he has now returned to his parent club Gateshead. Callum Chippendale and Nathan Whitehead will still be unavailable due to injury while Nathan Valentine is expected to miss the game while he works on regaining full fitness.
The last time these two sides met was on November 9 last season in the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round at the Proctor Cars Stadium. The Gladiators won the tie 1-0 thanks to a 33rd minute penalty from Spencer Harris. A crowd of 284 watched the game. View the action above.