Buxton boss says showdown with Matlock will not decide outcome of Northern Premier League title race
Buxton’s season will not be won or lost when they travel to title rivals Matlock Town next week, says boss Steve Cunningham.
The Bucks head to Causeway Lane for the traditional festive fixture holding a two point cushion at the top of the Northern Premier League table.
But Cunningham knows that the tasty fixture will not be make or break.
“Whoever wins the game will be top of the league, so it is huge,” he said. “If we win we go five points clear and have played the same games.
“If they win they go top and we are playing catch up. But the league isn't won on 27th December, it just gives a team a boost that week.
“There's a lot of football to be played and I have to make sure people don't get too carried away.
“We will lose games on the way and we can't be too disappointed when we lose, there are circumstances around defeat like there was this Saturday.
“Over 21 games so far Buxton have proved to be the best team in the league and we have to make sure we do that again in the second half of the season.
“We won't do that by winning every game, but then neither will Matlock or South Shields.
“We are in a good position. If someone had said to the fans, players and chairman that we would be top of the league after losing a game before Christmas and it's in your hands they would have taken it.
“Being top shows how far the team has come this year. We have done the hardest part but now we have to get bodies back and take one game at a time.”
Cunningham believes the team that copes best with the pressure as the title battle nears its conclusion is most likely to come away with the trophy.
And he hopes Buxton will find themselves in a strong position if the more experienced members of Silverland’s squad can show what they are made of when most needed.
“It is about who deals with pressure most and the key moments in key games,” he added.
“We need a tough mentality, as well as some luck, to get out of the division because there will be injuries, suspensions, COVID and games called off.
“We have got some great experience in the dressing room and they have to show it in games where we need to roll our sleeves up.
“No-one will run away with the league, it is a tough league to get out of.
“You’re stuck in a pyramid where teams have dropped down from the National League North and teams who have come up from the NPL North and lots of teams who have ambitions to go up.
“There hasn't been promotion for two seasons now and we now have teams who are going for it, teams who have invested and need to go up to have something to show for it.”