Goal-happy Bucks delight boss ahead of festive double

Action from Matlock v Buxton last season. The sides will meet again on Boxing Day.
Action from Matlock v Buxton last season. The sides will meet again on Boxing Day.

Nine goals in two games have left Buxton boss Martin McIntosh full of festive cheer as a tough double-header approaches in the space of three days.

Last week’s 5-1 win over Barwell was added to with a 4-1 success over Mickleover Sports on Saturday, Liam Hardy and Brad Barraclough having shared all nine of the goals between them.

And with a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time since the opening few weeks of the season, McIntosh is confident the Bucks can now start to threaten the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division as they were in the early stages.

He said: “We’ve had a tough time with the injuries but for the first time in ages I’ve had all of my best players available which has made a massive difference.

“Not only are those players back but they are match fit too and in my eyes that makes us one of the strongest sides in the division.

“What we’ve now got to do is make the most of the games in hand we have on some of those above us. If we win them we will be back in the play-off zone and if we can average the number of points we’ve been getting for most of the season, then I see no reason why we can’t stay there.”

The firepower at McIntosh’s disposal has been highlighted in the last two games with Hardy having struck hat-tricks in both matches to move to the top of the Premier Division goalscoring charts on 17 for the season.

Barraclough has proved a worthy strike partner with his goals complementing Hardy’s trebles, and with summer signing Ash Worsfold back fit having been out since the opening day of the campaign, it could leave McIntosh with something of a selection dilemma.

He said: “Liam is back and firing on all cylinders which is fantastic. He was out for a while but in the form he’s in, any club would want him.

“Brad has had a stop start kind of season but he’s now fit and raring to go and is a fantastic player.

“Then there’s Ash Worsfold who hit 15 in the Conference North a couple of seasons ago and who we brought here in the summer before he got a nasty injury on the opening day.

“If we can keep them all fit we’ve got three players there who are almost guaranteed to score goals.

“We’ve recovered well from losing players like Craig King and Ash Palmer to higher levels as we had to replace them which is never easy.

“As it turns out, I think we’re now in a stronger position than we were this time last season.”

Buxton head to old rivals Matlock Town on Boxing Day before hosting Nantwich Town two days later on Bank Holiday Monday.

With only Alistair Taylor unavailable due to suspension, McIntosh believes having virtually full squad to choose from will be key over the congested festive period which will then see his side head to Ashton United on January 2.

He said: “Every game is different so we’ll face some tough challenges but it’s important to keep picking up points.

“Obviously we want to keep everyone fit and injury-free but it’s a tough schedule and going into it with a fully-fit squad is a big bonus.

“I expect the Matlock game will be the usual scrappy local derby but both sides are in form so it could be a good spectacle.

“We beat Nantwich early in the season but they’re still battling at the top so again it’s a game we want to win to help catch them.”

*Weather permitting, Buxton were due to face Pinxton on Tuesday night in the Derbyshire Senior Cup third round, with early Christmas print deadlines meaning the match took place after this week’s Advertiser had gone to press.