Matlock Town Development Squad will compete in the inaugural Battle of the Young Gladiators. The showpiece event will see the club’s Under-17 and Under-18 teams meet on Tuesday, 19th February at the University of Derby to be shown live on our Young Gladiators Facebook Page.
Both teams currently top their respective league divisions and are particularly determined to continue their fine form at the expense of their fellow Young Gladiators. The club’s development manager Justin Tellus explained just what the match meant to each player.
He said: “The game will be a tremendous occasion with all the talent of Matlock Town’s development sides showcased on one pitch. Every single player recognises this unique opportunity and given the form of each team are especially keen to get one over their clubmates by putting in the best performance possible.”
The match will kick off at 1pm and will be played at the university’s Sports Centre on the Kedleston Road campus with admission free to all and Tellus spoke of the relationship the club have with the University.
He explained: “Students from the university play a vital role in what we are trying to achieve here at Matlock Town, whether that be from the journalism or sports science departments. Similarly, we know that the education provided to the lads here at Matlock Town serves them appropriately for the future and the opportunity of higher education.”
The Gladiators’ current success is a repetition of glory which has seen the youth teams win seven major titles in just three years, a tremendous collective effort that has included winning a trio of the Northern Premier League titles in succession. Further success has also been achieved on an international scale with the Young Gladiator’s fielding teams at tournaments played in the Netherlands and China, the latter of which saw them return home as bronze medallists.
Such achievement has subsequently seen academy graduates Max Hunt move to Derby County in January 2018 and, more recently, Zak Brunt join fellow Championship side Sheffield United last summer. Hunt’s departure marked the first occasion in Matlock Town’s 140-year history that the club received a transfer fee for a homegrown product.
Embedded within the community, Matlock Town has established a recognised youth development system catering for players outside the professional game, offering male school leavers aged between 16-18 years a second chance in a semi-professional environment.