Matlock Town are away at Atherton Collieries in the Northern Premier League Premier Division on Saturday afternoon as they look to make it five wins in a row and secure four clean sheets in a row too.
The Gladiators won their most recent game 1-0 at home against Mickleover to stay top of the league but manager Paul Phillips was very unhappy with the team's performance and will be looking for an urgent improvement to add more pressure onto title favourites South Shields.
Atherton Collieries are currently in 15th position in the NPL Premier Division but have played less games than every single team in the division so far. Atherton have played four games less than Matlock in the league and are already five games behind Stalybridge Celtic. From their opening nine league games, Atherton have secured 13 points.
In their most recent match, Atherton Collieries were knocked out of the FA Cup third qualifying round after a gruelling replay against Marine. Atherton scored a dramatic injury time equaliser to make it 2-2 away at Marine after 90 minutes. However, just as the game looked to be heading to a penalty shoot-out, Marine were awarded a last minute penalty in the final minute of extra time and converted it to break Atherton's hearts. In their most recent game at home, Atherton drew 0-0 with Marine at home in the first match of that FA Cup tie. The game was watched by a crowd of 517.
Atherton Collieries are nicknamed the Colls and were founded back in 1916. They play their home games at the Skuna Stadium in Atherton which is a small town within Wigan in Greater Manchester.
Their manager is Brad Cooke. He took over at the club in 2019 when Michael Clegg departed.
Their most recent trophy came in the 2018/19 season when the Colls won the Northern Premier League Division One West league title. This title win secured Atherton's automatic promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
One to Watch
Ben Conway will be a key player to look out for on Saturday afternoon. This is the forward's third different spell with the Colls in his career. Conway is certainly well travelled as he's also played for clubs in The United States and New Zealand.
Conway has scored four goals in Atherton's last six games in all competitions, including two goals in their FA Cup defeat to Marine.
Matlock Town finally have a full strength squad to select from ahead of this game - the first time that this has happened this season. Ross Hannah, Callum Chippendale, Jamie Sharman and even Jerome Greaves should all now be fit and raring to go for Saturday.
New loan signing Matt Sargent will also be available for selection and could make his Gladiators debut.
Aram Soleman has departed Matlock Town since their victory over Mickleover.
The last time these two sides met was back on September 24, 2019 in the first Covid-hit season. The Gladiators drew 1-1 with the Colls at the Proctor Cars Stadium in front of a crowd of 276. Marcus Marshall scored an early goal for Matlock but Tom Bentham equalised for Atherton after converting a penalty midway through the first half.