the npl

Weekly News | 11.7.23

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Weekly News | 11.7.23

Matlock Town boss Martin Carruthers is feeling the frustrations of non league management early in the Gladiators pre season build up with injuries and unavailability prevalent in his squad.

This comes after an encouraging display in last Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat in their prestigious friendly against League One outfit Derby County which attracted a sell out crowd at the Proctor Cars Stadium for the second time in four days. Goals in each half by James Collins and Ben Radcliffe were sufficient for the Rams to earn a win in their pre season opener with Matlock reacting positively to a 9-0 hammering by Chesterfield in their first outing.

“I was really, really pleased” said Carruthers.

“It was very similar to the first thirty minutes against Chesterfield when the lads looked solid, I thought on Saturday we showed some real character. There were so many positives to take from a good performance against a very decent opposition. We could have scored a couple ourselves but we know it’s coming. These early games are all about building up match fitness.”

National League North Buxton were due at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Wednesday night before the Gladiators travel to Retford United on Saturday afternoon. Then comes a home meeting with Notts County on Tuesday.

Ideally Carruthers would have been hoping to build on the Derby performance but his plans seem to have gone up in smoke with Nat Crofts, Kemi Augustien and Ollie Clark all picking up injuries against Derby.

“Nat, Kemi and Ollie will not play against Buxton” Carruthers confirmed on Tuesday evening.

“They’ll be there but will be seeing physio Andy Henson and we’ll take it from there. Reece Styche and Jonny Margetts are on holiday, Karl Demidh was going away but has told me he’ll be here and John Johnston’s back. Ioan Evans is away for a fortnight before the NPL starts so will miss the Sheffield, Mansfield and Belper games, he gets back on 10 August.The injuries are frustrating and I respect players have to have their holidays, they have lives away from football. The main thing is to get everyone fit and ready for 12 August.”

The Retford game will see Matlock as the higher placed team for the first time in pre season. The Badgers, managed by former Matlock winger Ryan Hindley, won the Central Midlands League Premier North Division last term to earn promotion to the Northern Counties east First Division for 2023/24.

“We’ll have a rejig against Retford but after then it’ll be focusing on a main 16 squad of players. We’ve got a lot of bodies despite the injuries and holidays. I know Ryan (Hindley) well, they’re no mugs and it’ll be a big game for them as Ryan’s told me they’ll give us a good game.”

Carruthers says he is still on the look out for players.

“We’re still looking, there’ll be some players at higher placed clubs who’ll have not made their minds up and clubs who’ll not have made their minds up about players and it’s something you have to understand.”

Striker Brad Wells has moved to Sherwood Colliery, the transaction being confirmed earlier in the week.

Meanwhile Matlock Chairman Jay Beaumont paid tribute to the fans who had filled the Proctor Cars Stadium for the Derby and Chesterfield games.

“It was fantastic to see the stadium full and we hope everyone who came enjoyed their day with us and might say later on in the season let’s go down to Matlock again today, we had a really good day last time. Those attendances will see us through at least a couple of months of the season. A big thank you also to our fantastic bunch of volunteers who worked their socks off during the two matches, we just simply couldn’t move forward without their help which is invaluable. I’d also like to thank all involved at both Derby and Chesterfield who have been great to work with, bringing strong sides, we’ve had two superb games to kick off our pre season campaign.”

The fixtures for the 2023/24 NPL season are expected to be announced at 2 pm on Thursday, 13 July.

Ian Richardson