Released Matlock striker Massiah McDonald could well be facing his former team mates next season after he signed for divisional rivals Grantham Town earlier this week.

The Gladiators released McDonald for financial reasons at the end of last season and it was widely thought he would move to a higher league club.

Reports say he had the opportunity to join a Conference club but in the end it was the Gingerbreads, co-managed by former Alfreton defender Ian Robinson and ex Gladiator Gary Sucharewycz, who managed to get McDonald to sign on the dotted line.

Sucharewycz and Robinson, like McDonald and a number of the Grantham squad, are Nottingham based so this was possibly a reason why Mcdonald opted for a move to the Meres.

McDonald hit eighteen goals in thirty nine appearances for Mark Atkins’ side, but suspension ruled him out of eight games in his short seven months spell with the club which included an initial three months loan from his then parent club Worksop Town.

His disciplinary problems are his achilles heel for he has undoubted ability and he thrilled Matlock fans with late winners in giant killing FA Trophy victories against Conference North Stalybridge Celtic and later future Conference Champions Mansfield Town. But a needless late caution against the Stags cost him the chance of facing mighty Luton Town in the next round.

Atkins meanwhile is busy talking with players as he looks towards having a more successful league season which begins on Saturday August 17. The league fixtures are to be released exactly a month earlier with the draws for the early rounds of the FA Cup and FA Trophy being made public in early July. Pre season training is expected to start on 25 June.

Two more pre season friendlies have been arranged with visits to Evo-Stik First Division North Ossett Albion and First Division South Eastwood Town on Saturday 27 July and Saturday 10 August respectively.

IAN RICHARDSON

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