the npl

Carruthers recruits quartet for his Gladiators side

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Carruthers recruits quartet for his Gladiators side

Martin Carruthers has struck while the iron is hot signing no fewer than four new players as he revamps his Matlock Town squad for the 2023/24 Pitching In NPL season.

He has raided Gainsborough Trinity to bring in left back Joe West and midfielder Andrew Wright who will spend a third spell with the Gladiators. Another midfielder, Ollie Clark, makes the switch from Basford United while the fourth capture is winger Nathaniel Crofts who was at Guiseley at the beginning of last season before having loan spells at Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield.

West (23) is a tall attacking full back who came up through the youth ranks at Sheffield Wednesday prior to joining Farsley Celtic where he made 12 National League North appearances. His next port of call was Frickley Athletic after the Covid 19 outbreak before his impressive performances caught the eye of Trinity boss Neal Bishop who signed him at the start of last season.

Carruthers says that West fills a position that was up for grabs last term.

“It’s great to have Joe West on board, it’s no secret we’ve been looking for a quality left back ever since we came to the club. He’s a local lad which is great for us, we want local lads who want to play for Matlock Town, it’s a real coup, he played 45 games for Gainsborough last season so he’s proven, he’s young, he’s got great delivery and he’ll bring real quality to that back line.”

26 years old Wright, who lives locally in Jacksdale , began his career at Lincoln City and spent a brief period on loan with the Gladiators towards the end of the 2016/17 campaign. He was in the Grantham Town side which reached the NPL Premier Division play off final a year later, Steve Kittrick brought him to Matlock at the start of the 2019/20 season but Wright was given little chance to impress and he moved to Mickleover. A proven goalscorer from midfield he moved to Gainsborough where he was made club captain in a side which like Matlock, lost in the NPL Premier Division play off semi finals last month.

“It’s great to be finally working with Andrew Wright, he’s a former Matlock player and I know he’s well liked by the fans, we tried to sign him before deadline day last season but Gainsborough wouldn’t let him leave. So its an opportunity to bring in a good experienced midfield player who’ll add grit, steel, quality and goals to our midfield. We’re looking forward to an exciting season ahead,”

Clark (24) arrived at Basford from Carlton Town in February 2021 where he made 81 appearances and scored 16 goals. His progress at Greenwich Avenue was hampered by a knee injury from which he has now fully recovered.

Carruthers has been a long time admirer of Clark.

“I’m really pleased Ollie Clark’s signed, a good young player who I tried to sign at Basford and at Ilkeston previously and it never materialised for whatever reason. He’s aggressive, tenacious, he’s got legs and will bring energy, the lad can score goals as well so he’ll be a great signing for us.” “

Sheffield born Crofts (25) is happy on either flank and while playing in America between 2017 and 2021 he gained a BA degree in African and American Studies. As a youngster he was at Barnsley and both Sheffield clubs before showing his allegiance to Sheffield United, signing a professional contract when he was 17 and featuring in their under 18 and under 21 teams. When he was released by the Blades he went to America and undertook a scholarship at the University of Virginia joining Virginia Cavaliers,. A move to Toronto followed before returning to England in January 2022 to join Stocksbridge.

Carruthers says that Crofts is a player who should excite the Matlock crowd.

“He’s an exciting pacy winger who’s dynamic, he’ll get at players, he can score goals. I think he’s a lad who needs an arm around him and we want to get the best out of him. He’s 25 now, we want to see him kick on, he needs some consistency playing in a settled side, getting game time and confidence and he’s a key part of that jigsaw.”

Carruthers prefers to get his business done early but he is still keen to add to his squad as the close season progresses.

“It’s good to get some business done early doors and I’m delighted with what we’ve got so far. But I’m still looking for additional quality that will pop up in the coming months.”

Ian Richardson