Glenn Kirkwood and fellow boss Craig Hopkins continue to prepare for the 2017/18 campaign as they aim to retain the vast majority of last season’s squad and recruit a few fresh faces.
“When we got the job we knew where we wanted to take the club” said Kirkwood. “We just enjoy winning football games. It’s a matter of me and Hoppo being as positive as we can, being as humble as possible as we both get on with lots of rival managers and working as hard as we can. The lads ran through brick walls for us last season and for whatever reason we just came up short. If we can add a little more quality, depth and a bit more competition for places then I think we should be okay.”
Kirkwood looked back twelve months as he added “This time last year we had three or so players, this year we have a base of about thirteen or fourteen. We’re not looking at a major overhaul but we’re looking to bring in a few lads to freshen us up and improve us. I’ve met a lad tonight (Tuesday) and things appear to have gone well. At this stage we can’t name names but we want the fans to know we’re working hard to bring in the lads we want.”
The Gladiators have been working hard on organising their pre season friendlies which start with a visit from Chesterfield on Thursday July 6, less than a fortnight after the players return for pre season training. Other home games are against Mansfield Town on Saturday 15 July, Sheffield United under 23’s on Wednesday July 19, Burton Albion on Saturday 22 July and Belper Town for the Caroline Melbourne Trophy on Friday August 4. They travel to Heanor Town on Tuesday August 1 with other trips to local non-league sides to be confirmed shortly.
“The games will be a good test for the lads, but really it’s all about being ready for August 12. Last year we were three to four weeks into the season before we found out what worked for us so with the lads we already have this year we should know a good deal more .”
The Gladiators have announced a freeze on admission prices at the DCJ Group Arena with adults continuing to pay £10, concessions £6.50, students with valid student card £5, children between 10 and 18 years £3 and under 10’s can watch for free. Season tickets cost £180 for adults and £115 for concessions, but if bought before August 1, then reduced rates of £160 and £105 respectively will apply.
“We were really pleased and encouraged as crowds increased last season so we are keeping admission prices the same and we hope that our fans will back us again and new supporters will come down to watch their local side in what we hope will be another exciting season” said Chairman Tom Wright.