Matlock Town will be aiming to continue their fantastic start to the season on Saturday afternoon as they face off against FC United of Manchester at the Proctor Cars Stadium in the NPL Premier Division. Paul Phillips's men could end the day at the top of the table if they win this game and South Shields drop points in their away game at Nantwich Town.
The Gladiators will come into this game very confidently indeed after winning their last two matches in a row and winning nine of their first 11 league games this season. Their opponents will also be confident though after absolutely hammering Scarborough Athletic in their most recent match. With both teams in great morale, a very big crowd and a fantastic atmosphere is widely anticipated ahead of this clash.
FC United of Manchester have experienced a slow start to this season's campaign by their high standards and currently sit mid-table in 11th position. Despite the slow start, the team will have been boosted by their demolition of Scarborough Athletic in their most recent game after they beat the Seadogs at home 6-0. In their most recent away trip, FC United surprisingly lost 5-2 to local rivals Stalybridge Celtic in the league.
The club were formed in 2005 as a protest to the Glazers takeover of Manchester United and their subsequent running of the Premier League outfit. Due to the high profile of this protest, their large fan base and their meteoric rise up the football pyramid, FC United of Manchester are undeniably one of the most famous non-league clubs in the country.
FC United are also affectionately known as The Reds and The Red Rebels. The Reds play their home games at Broadhurst Park in the Moston area of Manchester. The stadium can hold up to 4,400 spectators. FC United moved to Broadhurst Park in 2015 after previously groundsharing Gigg Lane with former Football League team Bury.
Their manager is Neil Reynolds. Reynolds took over the managerial post in October 2018.
The club's most recent trophy victory was the Brian Lomax Trophy which they won earlier this year. FC United won the Northern Premier League Premier Division title in the 2014-15 season.
One to Watch
Highly rated 18 year-old striker Brad Holmes will be a key player to watch out for on Saturday afternoon. Holmes is on loan from Championship outfit Blackpool.
Holmes joined FC United mid-way through last month and has enjoyed a great start to his spell at the club, scoring four goals in five appearances.
The teenager also played for Bolton Wanderers's academy team before he signed a professional deal with Blackpool.
Since Matlock Town's last game, Paul Phillips has made three new signings who will all be available for selection for Saturday's game. Midfielder Liam King will be in line to make his second debut for the Gladiators, 22 year-old midfielder Aram Soleman is set to make his debut following his transfer from Tamworth and Tyreece Onyeka could also make his Gladiators debut following his loan move from Crewe Alexandra.
Elsewhere, Matlock have a number of injury issues to contend with. Callum Chippendale, Jamie Cooke and Alex Byrne were all substituted during Matlock's win over Radcliffe due to picking up injuries. It remains to be seen whether any of them will be fit enough to be involved in the game against FC United.
Striker Jerome Greaves will still be unavailable following his hamstring injury while Jamie Sharman will still be absent due to personal reasons.
The last time these two sides met was in the NPL Premier Division back on December 7, 2019. FC United won the game convincingly 5-2 at Broadhurst Park thanks to a hat-trick from Tunde Owolabi and goals from Chris Doyle and Regan Linney. Tomas Poole and Marcus Marshall netted Matlock's goals.
The game was watched by an impressive crowd of 1,574.