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THE GLADIATORS BEGIN THEIR FA TROPHY CAMPAIGN


Matlock Town will be aiming to reach the first round proper of the FA Trophy on Saturday afternoon as they host fellow Step 3 outfit AFC Rushden & Diamonds from the Southern League Premier Central division.

After a hugely disappointing exit at the first hurdle in the FA Cup this season, Paul Phillips's men will be very keen to make amends for this and have a good run in the FA Trophy. The Gladiators go into this game as leaders of the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Matlock are now three points clear of South Shields at the top following their 2-0 victory at Lancaster City last weekend.

The Opposition

AFC Rushden & Diamonds currently sit mid-table in 11th position in the Southern League Premier Central division and have won 4 of their 14 league games so far this season. In their most recent game earlier this week, Rushden beat Stratford Town 2-1 away from home in the league. Before that victory, Rushden had gone on a seven game run without a win.

The Northamptonshire outfit have a very interesting background. The club was only formed in 2011 as a phoenix side following the demise of former Football League club Rushden & Diamonds after they were liquidated and then sadly wound-up due to dire financial circumstances. The phoenix side that started after this are affectionately known as The Diamonds.

The Diamonds play their home games at Hayden Road Sports Ground in the town of Rushden in Northamptonshire. The stadium can hold up to 2,955 spectators with a seated capacity of 257.

Rushden's manager is Andy Peaks. Peaks has been Rushden's gaffer since 2014. There have only been two managers in the club's history.

This will be the seventh season in Rushden's history that they will have competed in the FA Trophy. Their best ever run in the competition came last season when they reached the first round proper of the cup competition.

The last trophy Rushden lifted was the NFA Hillier Cup in 2019.


One to Watch

Tom Lorraine will certainly be a Rushden player to keep an eye on during Saturday's encounter. Lorraine has been at Rushden for seven years and is the club's record goalscorer. In his time with The Diamonds, Lorraine has scored 97 goals in 282 competitive appearances.

The 32 year-old previously played for the likes of Banbury United and Daventry Town earlier in his career.

Team News

Gladiators captain Liam Hughes and Ross Hannah are both suspended and will be unavailable for this cup game. Adam Yates will be available for selection again after missing the league trip to Lancaster City.

Both Paul Phillips and Dave Wild have stated in the build-up to this game that a few changes to the side will be likely. Second choice goalkeeper Paul Cooper is expected to come in for a rested Shaun Rowley and make his competitive debut for the Gladiators. Loan signing Jerome Greaves is also expected to make his first start for the club in some time.

Previous Meeting

This will be the first ever meeting between these two clubs.


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