Manager Mark Hume this week sent a reassuring message to Matlock Town supporters awaiting the announcement of new signings at the Autoworld Arena.
Hume has a number of slots to fill following the return of loanees Julian Banton, Otis Khan and Jamie McDonagh to parent club Sheffield United at the end of last season, followed by the return of player of the season and goalkeeper Jon Kennedy to former club Worksop Town during the summer.
Now it seems that full back Micky Harcourt may also be leaving having appeared in two pre season friendlies for Buxton, but the Silverlands club have not yet announced Harcourt has joined them.
“We’ll have a good team with the budget we have”insisted Hume. “I know what I’ve got and what I want but we’re going about our business quietly and keeping things to ourselves at the moment because other clubs are wanting our players all the time. we’re not prepared to do all the hard work and see others have the benefit.”
On Harcourt’s possible departure, Hume added “an offer was put to him but not a contract and that maybe upset him somewhat but it was still a decent offer. We want him to stay here but at the moment he’ll probably think that the grass is greener up at Buxton but we’ll have to see. The door is open for him should he want to stay here, there’s no problem as far as I’m concerned if he wants to play here.”
The Gladiators pre season programme got under way last Thursday night as Chesterfield comfortably retained the Autoworld Cup with a 3-0 win at the Autoworld Arena.
Whilst things did not go the hosts’ way on the pitch, they most certainly did off the field with a fine 1119 attendance in Dean Saunderrs first game in charge of the Spireites when Matlock wore their new Autoworld Suzuki sponsored kit for the first time.
Saunders spent time chatting with fans and signing autographs, also vowing to help Matlock with loan players during the forthcoming campaign.
Hume admitted that the Chesterfield game, which was brought forward five days from its original date, came a little too early for his side, but agreed that it was important financially for Matlock.
“It was a good run out but it came too quickly for us as our preparation for the match wasn’t what I was hoping for. I would have preferred four or five sessions prior to the game but we had to play it for the good of the club. We had players still on holiday and they (Chesterfield) were miles in front of us. It was hard in terms of fitness but it will have done us a lot of good. It’s a bigger fitness test when you’re chasing and don’t have the ball so we’ll have benefitted from the hard graft we put in. The scoreline didn’t disgrace us, Chesterfield looked a good side and it bodes well for them this season. I expect them to do well.”.
Matlock named a number of trialists in their squad and that theme will continue in two further friendlies this week. The Gladiators take on Handsworth Parramore at Worksop’s Sandy Lane ground on Saturday (3pm) before facing a home game against Belper Town on Tuesday (7.30 pm).
“Results aren’t the be all and end all during pre season” said Hume. ” Obviously it would be nice to win every game you play but I’ve had about twenty pre seasons and you can lose all your friendlies and then win the first three or four league games and vice versa. It’s a case of working hard and preparing well for the new season.”
Matlock have reduced admission prices for the Belper game and their other home friendly against Sheffield United to six pounds for adults and four pounds for concessions.
The league fixtures for 2015/16 should be available today (Thursday) but Matlock already know their first round opponents in the Integro League Cup. They will travel to First Division South Spalding United on Tuesday November 10.
Hume has also taken time out to welcome maiden Academy coach Jamie Yates to the Autoworld Arena.
The 26 year old midfielder, currently playing at National League North Gainsborough Trinity, had a spell on loan as a player at Matlock last season from North Ferriby United. His father Lenny was a crowd favourite at Matlock in the 1980’s.
“In my view Jamie was the outstanding candidate and I’m delighted he’s come to Matlock to work with our academy and I believe he’ll do very well.”