Three summer acquisitions quickly turned into six as a trio of midfielders signed on the dotted line after Matlock Town’s 2-1 win at Teversal in their opening pre-season friendly on Saturday.

Anton Foster,Corey Gregory and Liam Gaughan all featured at Caernarvon Street as did earlier close season signings David Haggerty, Danny Holland and Darryl Thomas with former Ilkeston and Belper striker Thomas netting the equaliser before youngster Matty Wilkinson hit the decider.

Matlock boss Mark Atkins is delighted with his latest captures as the pre season campaign gathers pace with a visit from Alfreton Town on Friday night (7.30 pm) and a trip to Hednesford Town on Tuesday (7.45 pm).

Thirty one year old Foster is hugely experienced at this level being part of the Eastwood Town side who won the NPL title in 2008/09. He joins Matlock from Boston United and has also had spells at FC Halifax Town, Buxton, Belper Town and Sheffield FC.

Gregory meanwhile is just twenty years old and began his career at Sheffield United before being loaned out to Leicester City, Hucknall Town and Belper Town. Last season he was at Stalybridge Celtic and scored the Conference North club’s goal in their 2-1 FA Trophy defeat at the Reynolds Stadium last November.

Eighteen year old Gaughan has made the step up from Baris NCEL Armthorpe Welfare and is seen as one for the future.

“I’m really pleased to get these three lads signed on” said Atkins.”Anton got in touch with us to see if we were interested in him, he’s trained really well and I’ve always been impressed with him at whichever club he’s been with. He’s energetic and always on the front foot and the kind of player we’ve lacked since Liam King left. Corey’s an attacking midfielder or forward and I saw him three times for Stalybridge last season and he was outstanding each time. When I heard he was available I got in touch and he’s delighted to be with us. His first touch is excellent and he shows great awareness to unlock defences in that final third. Liam’s just a young lad but is tenacious and can see a pass, he did very well last weekend.”

Six new players may yet become more according to Atkins.

“We’re still talking to one or two lads who would strengthen the squad, all we can say at present is that things are ongoing.”

Matlock had eight potential first team players unavailable at Teversal.

“All will be pushing to play in the first game of the season,so that combined with the intense heat played its part. We would have ideally liked everyone to have had forty five minutes but some had to do a lot more which can be dangerous injury wise but luckily we came out unscathed. Alfreton and Hednesford will obviously be more difficult but they should be good games.It’s pleasing that Hednesford came to us asking for the game, we’ve done well against them in the last couple of years so it’ll be interesting to see how we do both on Friday and at Hednesford.”

The scheduled match at Staveley on Saturday has been cancelled due to other planned events on the Inkersall Road ground on that day.

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The Gladiators will head to newly promoted Trafford on the opening day of the new season, Saturday 17 August as the 2013/14 Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division fixtures were released on Wednesday morning.

The Shawe View outfit beat both New Mills and Cammell Laird in last term’s First Division North play off ties to take their place in the top tier for the very first time. The Gladiators have faced Trafford before when they were both members of the old First Division, once also on the opening day in 1999 when a Jimmy Flynn strike earned Matlock all three points.

Matlock then play at home twice with Stocksbridge Park Steels in town on Tuesday August 20 and Nantwich Town the visitors on Saturday August 24.

Over Christmas, Matlock are at home to Marine on Saturday December 21 before they travel up the A6 to Buxton on Boxing Day.Two days later Matlock visit the seaside as they take on Whitby Town before hosting Worksop Town on New Years Day.

On August Bank Holiday Monday they are away at Worksop with Buxton coming to the Reynolds Stadium on Easter Monday which will be their final home game.

The derbies with Ilkeston FC are both scheduled for Saturdays, 26 October at Matlock and 8 March at the New Manor Ground.The final league match is at Marine on Saturday April 26.

FIXTURES:

AUGUST:
Sat 17 Trafford (A)
Tue 20 STOCKSBRIDGE PARK STEELS (H)
Sat 24 NANTWICH TOWN (H)
Mon 26 Worksop Town (A)
Sat 31 BLYTH SPARTANS (H)

SEPTEMBER:
Wed 4 Ashton United (A)
Sat 7 AFC Fylde (A)
Tue 10 CHORLEY (H)
Sat 14 Basford/Holwell/Quorn/Holbrook (A)-FA Cup 1Q
Tue 17 King’s Lynn Town (A)
Sat 21 FRICKLEY ATHLETIC (H)
Tue 24 STAMFORD (H)
Sat 28 FA Cup 2Q

OCTOBER:
Sat 5 Droylsden (A)
Sat 12 Stafford Rangers (A)
Tue 15 BARWELL (H)
Sat 19 HINCKLEY UTD (H)-FA Trophy 1Q
Tue 22 Skelmersdale United (A)
Sat 26 ILKESTON FC (H)
Tue 29 ASHTON UNITED (H)

NOVEMBER:
Sat 2 FA Trophy 2Q
Tue 5 Chorley (A)
Sat 9 AFC FYLDE (H)
Sat 16 Blyth Spartans (A)
Sat 23 FC UTD of MANCHESTER (H)
Sat 30 Witton Albion (A)

DECEMBER:
Sat 7 TRAFFORD (H)
Sat 14 Stocksbridge PS (A)
Sat 21 MARINE (H)
Thu 26 Buxton (A)
Sat 28 Whitby Town (A)

JANUARY:
Wed 1 WORKSOP TOWN (H)
Sat 4 RUSHALL OLYMPIC (H)
Sat 11 Grantham Town (A)
Sat 18 KING’S LYNN TOWN (H)
Sat 25 Stamford (A)

FEBRUARY:
Sat 1 DROYLSDEN (H)
Sat 8 Frickley Athletic (A)
Sat 15 GRANTHAM TOWN (H)
Sat 22 Rushall Olympic (A)

MARCH:
Sat 1 SKELMERSDALE UTD (H)
Sat 8 Ilkeston FC (A)
Sat 15 STAFFORD RANGERS (H)
Sat 22 Barwell (A)
Sat 29 FC United of Manchester (A)

APRIL:
Sat 5 WITTON ALBION (H)
Sat 12 WHITBY TOWN (H)
Sat 19 Nantwich Town (A)
Mon 21 BUXTON (H)
Sat 26 Marine (A)

Ian Richardson

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