Matlock boss Dave Hoole took heed of the old adage that “it it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as he confirmed his backroom staff for the coming season.

Having already installed last season’s top scorer Shaun Harrad as his assistant, he has re-engaged Danny Cox as coach, Mark Mullins as physio and Adam Sollitt as goalkeeper coach.

The quartet played prominent supporting roles when Hoole was promoted from reserve team boss to fill in at senior level when Craig Hopkins and Glenn Kirkwood departed in late March. Hoole had a productive honeymoon period in caretaker charge before being appointed to the hot seat shortly before the unfortunate final day defeat at Shaw Lane, winning six and drawing one of the preceding eight matches. But he acknowledges now that the honeymoon period is over.

“The first thing we needed to do was to steady the ship and then implement a style of play which was successful and we did that. Now the hard work starts, there’s a good, long hard season ahead and that’s why we kept the backroom staff” Hoole explained.

“Continuity was a factor, they’re a great bunch and very important in what we’re trying to do. Mark Mullins is an excellent physio, he knows the club well and is well respected and we’ve got Danny Cox in for his personality and his knowledge of this league and the one above. Shaun of course will be playing as well as coaching and Adam’s an experienced and well respected in goalkeeping circles. They’re all part of the jigsaw of what we’re wanting to put in place for the coming season.”

Hoole has been talking to both players who were with the club and prospective signings as he builds his squad for the new campaign.

“We’ve spoken to the lads we have and have verbal agreements with most of them, we’re wanting to keep them and build from there. People became aware of what we did and how well we played during those last nine games and our players have attracted a lot of interest but equally that can work the other way.”

Meanwhile Hoole had plenty of praise for both of the Gladiators academy sides who have been involved in cup finals during the past week.

Matlock Town (Whites), the Chryso Division champions with maximum points from their twelve league games, took on Joma Division title winners Warrington Town at Leek last Friday but were narrowly beaten 3-2 in the battle of the champions.

However the Matlock Town (Blues) beat Mickleover Sports 1-0 thanks to a long distance strike from Harry Wood in the League Cup Final at Stoke City on Monday.

“Unfortunately I couldn’t get down to Leek but from the reports I’ve had it seems we were the better side but ran out of steam and were outmuscled towards the end which is understandable when you’re playing against lads that are a year older at this level. I managed to see the game at Stoke and to be honest Mickleover threw the kitchen sink at us. We chanced our luck a few times but also our defending was fantastic and that’s what cup finals are all about. Harry Wood’s scored a spectacular goal and the lads have got the ball down and passed it around very well like I want us to play at first team level so we have that ethos running through the club. Both teams have done exceptionally well and are a credit to themselves, the coaching staff and the club.”

The Gladiators have also announced that admission and season ticket prices will remain unchanged for the 2018/19 campaign.

Adults will pay £160 for their season ticket if it is purchased before 1 August, the charge will be £180 afterwards with concessions being £105 before 1 August and £115 afterwards. The season ticket includes free admission to all of the Gladiators’ home pre season friendlies.

Ian Richardson

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