Buxton boss Gary Hayward pays tribute to his walking wounded
Buxton boss Gary Hayward has hailed the physical resilience of his side after two more wins over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The Bucks beat Stalybridge Celtic 2-0 on Saturday and then won 1-0 at Stafford Rangers 48 hours earlier, the latter game having seen several of the squad carrying knocks and striker Diego de Girolamo forced to withdraw from the team before kick-off.
But Ashley Chambers replaced him and scored the winner ten minutes in, leaving Hayward delighted.
He said: “I have to pay a massive tribute to our physio Hanson Stevens because he’s had to patch up several of our lads who have had pulled groins, hamstrings and so on and shove them out on the pitch.
"Even when Diego got injured, Ashley Chambers was carrying a knock too but went out there and got the winner.
"Every man who played in the game was immense. Our captain Josh Granite was limping all game with an achilles injury and yet when we took him off with ten to go he was disappointed as he wanted to see it out.
"That just shows you the calibre of the lads we’ve got here. They want to fight for the cause even when they’re walking wounded.
"We don’t have a big squad at all, which sometimes works in your favour but sometimes doesn’t, so it’s something we have to deal with but the club have been using a nutritionist which has also helped on a fitness level which is important.
"Everyone at the club from top to bottom is pulling in the same direction and it’s been terrific to see.”
Buxton now take a break from league action to tackle a tricky-looking FA Cup first qualifying round tie at United Counties League side Sherwood Colliery.
The Nottinghamshire side are top of their division which is two levels below that of the Bucks’, and Hayward knows a tough challenge lies in wait.
He said: “We went along to watch them on Tuesday night and they got a late winner and we know they’ll be a threat.
"They’ll get in our faces and make it difficult for us in their own back yard as you’d expect from this kind of cup tie.
"We need to go there and do a professional job, not take them for granted and make sure we’re in the hat for the next round on Monday.
"Squad-wise, the 15 or 16 players we have are as good as each other so we can rotate and not lose any quality, which is obviously a good position to be in when we also have two or three academy lads to call upon as well.”
As for Buxton’s overall form this season, which sees them lying joint top of the NPL Premier Division table with South Shields having won five out of six games and drawn the other, Hayward says he’s been proud of his players’ efforts.
He said: “We’ve been doing really well and to win four games in ten days was a monumental effort, particularly with the last two being over 48 hours and with the injuries.”
Buxton are currently scheduled to host Scarborough Athletic on Tuesday night, although that match will be postponed should either side have to replay their respective FA Cup ties, Scarborough due to host Witton Albion in their first qualifying round clash on Saturday.