Matlock Town joint bosses Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins made it a nap hand of close season signings this week as central defender Dwayne Wiley and attacker Jake Green rejoined their former managers having left Mickleover Sports.

With striker Marc Newsham, winger Jamie Yates and central defender Nico de Girolamo having already come to Causeway Lane, the Gladiators 2016 /2017 squad is starting to take shape now. There was more good news for Town fans as it was confirmed that midfielders Laurie Wilson and Ted Cribley would remain as Matlock players next season, while behind the scenes another Matlock favourite, Mark Mullins will continue as the club’s Sports Therapist.

Kirkwood could not hide his delight as he announced the signings and there will be further additions to the squad in the build up to the new Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division campaign.

Wiley (24) was first at Buxton before joining Kirkwood and Hopkins at Heanor Town and following them to Mickleover, while Green (21) was released by Bristol Rovers at the end of the 2013/14 season when the Pirates lost their Football League status. He moved to Conference National Kidderminster Harriers before his move to Mickleover midway through last season.

“Dwayne’s a big powerful defender, he’s been with us for the last four years and has a lovely left foot” said Kirkwood. “He was in the Evo-Stik First Division South team of the year when Mickleover won promotion the season before last. He’s a no nonsense defender and has been a pleasure to manage. He’s local living in Chesterfield so all in all we’re delighted he’s come to Matlock and will provide excellent competition for a place at the heart of our defence.”

Green, whose brother Matt is a striker now with Mansfield Town and formerly with Birmingham City, is likely to add pace to Matlock’s attack and Kirkwood says he played a huge part in Mickleover’s successful battle against relegation last season.

“We had him for four or five months last season and he’s one of the main reasons we stayed up . He can play wide or central and has electrifying pace, we believe he has a massive, massive future” Kirkwood added. “It’s that same old thing, these two lads want to win just as much as we do and they also have that quality we feel we need to do well in this division.”

Kirkwood says keeping Wilson and Cribley is equally as important as his recent signings and join Nicky Travis, Adam Yates, Niall McManus and Liam Needham from last season’s line up.

“Both are good players, Ted’s an intelligent and creative player while Laurie can only help the young lads around him. He knows how to play and can hurt the opposition which is perfect for us. Squad building is going fine, we’re both very happy with the way things are going, everything’s clicking along nicely. It’s tremendously important to have a happy dressing room, we’ve had it at all of our previous clubs, and we’re out to recreate that here at Matlock for it can gain you an extra ten to fifteen points in a season. We’re bringing in lads who are all wanting to be a part of the team, we don’t want those with egos, we want people who are here for the right reasons and not just money. They need to want to win football matches and it’s a fine line getting that right mix.”

Meanwhile Kirkwood described Mullins as a “top man”. Mullins was a winger in the Matlock side that reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup in 1989/90, losing away at Scunthorpe United and has remained hugely popular with Gladiators fans ever since.

“He was a big player for Matlock and he’s a popular, popular, lovely bloke. He’s treated both me and Hoppo over the years and knows his stuff.We had a brilliant physio down at Mickleover but “Mugga” is Matlock through and through and we’re delighted to have him with us”.

Ian Richardson

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