Mark Atkins’ desire for more home pre season friendlies has been satisfied to the full as the Gladiators announced their sixth warm up game at the Autoworld Arena.

Conference Premier side Grimsby Town come to Matlock on Friday July 18 which should see the return of a former Gladiators hero.

Ross Hannah, who is Matlock’s record goalscorer in a single season, when he hit 52 league and cup goals in 2010/11 prior to moving to Bradford City, should lead the Mariners’ attack. His return should see a healthy crowd turn up for the game for he is one of Matlock’s most popular players in modern times.

Grimsby are the latest full time outfit to visit the Autoworld with the other five coming from the Football League.

Matlock’s home pre season programme is certainly impressive with Derby County, Chesterfield, Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Mansfield Town all on parade in the Derbyshire Dales.

“Previously we’ve had a lot of away matches in pre season and I was keen to change that so we could have a better standard of opposition to play in pre season. I think we’ve certainly got that, through the various contacts we’ve got at the club we’ve got some very good games, ones that our fans should enjoy. The latest one we’ve managed to fix with Grimsby is obviously a great one to have, particularly with Ross (Hannah) potentially playing against us.”

Matlock’s squad, plus any potential additions, report back for training on Tuesday June 24, just nine days ahead of their opening pre season outing against Derby County on Thursday July 3. Atkins is sensibly keeping his cards relating to playing matters close to his chest having spoken to a number of players ahead of the new Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division campaign which gets under way on Saturday August 16.

The Matlock boss sympathized with the plight of Worksop Town who after resigning from the Evo-Stik League and having their request to rescind their resignation rejected by the League, will play in the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division next season, two tiers below the Evo-Stik Premier in the non league pyramid.

“It’s not been a nice situation for them, they’re a great club with a fantastic tradition and we’ve had some great games with them over the years. I’ve always enjoyed going there, and although they’re no longer in the NPL, I’m glad that they’ll at least be in the North East Counties League and we wish them all the best and hope they’ll soon be back playing at our level again.”.

Ian Richardson

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