The return of the prestigious home pre-season friendly with Chesterfield cheered Matlock Town officials this week with the Derbyshire neighbours playing for the Autoworld Trophy.

The newly crowned League Two champions will visit the Autoworld Arena on Wednesday July 9 (7.45 pm) after a one year break with the Spireites’ pre season commitments last summer preventing the popular game from taking place.

The clash looks set to attract a four figure gate and Matlock Chairman Tom Wright was delighted when the game was confirmed.

“A pre season game against Chesterfield has become something of a tradition for us and I know that many Spireites fans look forward to making the short trip to Matlock” said Wright who also commended Chesterfield boss Paul Cook, Chief Executive Chris Turner and Autoworld Managing Director Tony Cordin.

“Tony has kindly agreed to provide the Autoworld Trophy which the two teams will compete for on the night which is a great gesture. I’d also like to thank Paul Cook and Chris Turner for agreeing to the game. Hopefully the weather will be kind and we’ll all enjoy a great night’s football.”

Gladiators boss Mark Atkins was equally pleased that Chesterfield are back as part of the Gladiators pre season calendar.

“I’m very pleased that a date’s been sorted now Chesterfield have had a great season. They’ve done ever so well to get promoted and winning the league is a magnificent achievement. We’re looking forward to what should be a fantastic game”.

Matlock are currently working on other home pre season matches against Football League opposition, but have some away matches organised.

They will visit Worksop Town’s Sandy Lane to take on Toolstation NCEL Premier Division side Handsworth Parramore (formerly Worksop Parramore) on Saturday 26 July. Seven days later they will travel to Staveley MW while on Saturday August 9 they will play Sheffield FC at the Coach and Horses ground in Dronfield.

The Football Association announced the proposed constitution of the various leagues last week. Matlock will once again have to make the long trek to Workington following the Cumbrians’ relegation from Conference North. First Division South champions Halesowen Town will not be facing Matlock next term however, as they have been allocated to the Calor Gas Southern League, but runners up Belper Town will be derby opponents in league action for the first time since the 2003/04 campaign.

Curzon Ashton and Ramsbottom United are the two First Division North teams promoted while Corby Town move from the Southern League and Frickley Athletic, who finished fourth from the bottom last season, have been granted a reprieve from relegation.

The complete list consists of Ashton United, Barwell, Belper Town, Blyth Spartans, Buxton, Corby Town, Curzon Ashton, Frickley Athletic, FC United of Manchester, Grantham Town, Ilkeston FC, King’s Lynn Town, Marine, Matlock Town, Nantwich Town, Ramsbottom United, Rushall Olympic, Skelmersdale United, Stamford AFC, Trafford, Whitby Town, Witton Albion, Workington, Worksop Town.

Meanwhile Atkins confirmed that offers have been made to all of the Gladiators’ contract players for next season, adding he has been talking to “a lot of potential new players” ahead of the new campaign and before he left for his summer break yesterday (Wednesday).

Ian Richardson

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