Matlock Town return to league action on Saturday afternoon as they host Stafford Rangers in the NPL Premier Division.

The Gladiators secured their place in the third round of the FA Trophy earlier this week after beating step four outfit Marske United 3-2 at The Proctor Cars Stadium. The victory means that Matlock Town face an intriguing clash at home against York City in the next round of the competition on December 18.

For now though, full attention must return to the league as Matlock head into this game in second position in the division after losing their top spot to surprise package Bamber Bridge last weekend. With just two points separating the top four, the promotion battle is really warming up.

The Opposition

Stafford Rangers currently sit in seventh position in the NPL Premier Division and are six points behind a play-off place. In their most recent game, they beat Stafford Town 1-0 away from home in the second round of the Staffordshire Senior Cup thanks to a second half goal from Joe Cuff.

The squad looks to have improved significantly compared to the past two Covid-hit seasons. Stafford were fortunate to avoid relegation when they were bottom of the league at the time that the 2019/20 campaign was null and voided rather than finishing on a PPG basis. The club were also in the relegation zone last season when that was also called to a halt due to the pandemic.

Stafford Rangers were founded way back in 1876. They play their home games at Marston Road in the town of Stafford located in the West Midlands region of England. The stadium can hold up to 4,000 spectators with a seated capacity of 530.

The club's manager is Matt Hill. During his playing career, Hill made over 200 appearances for Bristol City and also played for the likes of Preston North End, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Barnsley and Blackpool.

The last trophy Stafford lifted was the Staffordshire Senior Cup in the 2018-19 season. Stafford have also won the Northern Premier League title twice as well as lifting the FA Trophy on two occasions at the original Wembley Stadium.

Notable former players for the club include the likes of Stan Collymore who scored 11 times in 35 league appearances between 1989 and 1990. Notable former managers of the club include the likes of former England internationals Steve Bull and Tim Flowers.

One to Watch

23 year-old winger Joe Kenton will be a key player to look out for in Saturday's game.

Kenton has scored six times in 19 appearances for Stafford Rangers this season and has also provided two assists.

Joe joined Stafford Rangers in July 2020 from Welsh side Newtown.

Team News

Shaun Rowley will continue to be out for some time due to a hand injury.

Jamie Cooke is expected to be available for selection again after his knee injury. Luke Hall is available after being cup-tied for the Marske game while Luke Daly will be back after missing the Marske game due to illness.

Previous Meeting

These two sides last met earlier this season on September 18 at Marston Road in the league.

Stafford won 2-0 thanks to goals from Joe Kenton and Tom Tonks in front of a crowd of 520.

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