PREVIEW: Gladiators meet the Tigers in league clash

Matlock Town make the trip to Greater Manchester on Saturday to play Hyde United in the Northern Premier Division. The Gladiators moved out of the relegation zone after their last game when they drew 1-1 to claim a hard-fought point against Morpeth Town.

We’re still only at the beginning of a brutal playing schedule for the Gladiators in where they have an eye-watering amount of matches to fit in by the final day of the season on April 25th. This will be a gruelling final period of the season and the Gladiators will be looking to pick up as many points as possible while legs are still relatively fresh.


The Opposition

Hyde United lie mid-table and occupy 11th position in the Northern Premier Division. Even at this relatively premature stage, it seems pretty certain that Hyde aren’t in any danger of being sucked into a relegation battle nor pose much threat of a late play-off challenge.

Hyde come into this game in good form with only one defeat in their last six competitive games. In their most recent match, they defeated Kidsgrove Athletic 2-1 away from home in the Integro League Cup quarter-final while in their last match at home they secured an excellent 5-2 victory over Lancaster City in the league.

Hyde United are known as the Tigers. They were founded in 1919 and play their home games at the Ewen Fields Stadium in Hyde, Greater Manchester. The stadium can hold up to 4,250 people with a seated capacity of 530. The club’s most recent trophy victory came in 2012 when the Tigers won the Conference North league title. Hyde’s manager is David McGurk. McGurk made almost 250 league appearances for York City during his playing career which concluded with the club he now manages. McGurk is also very young for a manager at only 37 years old.


One to Watch

24 year old striker Tom Pratt will be a key player to keep an eye on for Matlock fans. Before joining Hyde United in 2017, Pratt previously played for the likes of Bury, Mossley, Ashton United and Trafford.

Pratt is popular with Hyde’s fans due to his excellent work rate and he was the club’s top goal scorer for the 2017/18 campaign. Pratt won two awards at the end of last season’s campaign winning the supporters player of the season and the club’s goal of the season.

Pratt has scored six goals in Hyde’s last six competitive games and comes into Saturday’s game in excellent form.


Team News

Luke Hinsley and Ben Edgson should both finally be available for selection. Jack Rea is still injured and may well be out for the rest of the season while Jon Stewart still hasn’t fully recovered from his work injury and will remain on the sidelines. Jude Oyibo is a doubt after the horrendous challenge that forced him to be substituted in Matlock’s last game against Morpeth Town. Ellis Roberts could be in line to return to the squad after he picked up an ankle injury in a training session last week which forced him to miss Matlock’s last game.

Craig King and Nathan Whitehead remain as long-term injury absentees.

In the last few days, there have been a couple of outgoings. Winger Dan Bramall was released by the club and has now joined local rivals Buxton. James Tague has decided to leave the Gladiators to join Gainsborough Trinity.


Previous Meeting

These two sides last met pretty recently. The Gladiators played the Tigers on February 1st in the Northern Premier Division at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

The game ended 1-1. Tom Pratt gave Hyde the lead after only nine minutes before Matlock equalised in the 52nd minute through Piteu Crouz in front of a crowd of 543.

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