the npl

Weekly News | 16.5.23

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Weekly News | 16.5.23

Martin Carruthers says meeting up with former employers next season will be exciting but everything will be focused on his Matlock Town side collecting three points on the day.

The Football Association released details of the league allocations throughout the National League system for 2023/24 and it confirmed that the Gladiators would remain in the NPL Premier Division. They will meet up again with former rivals with Bradford (Park Avenue) being relegated from National League North while coming up from Step 3 are Worksop Town, Workington and Macclesfield.

Carruthers was once a player at Macclesfield and there is more at stake for him as Basford United and Ilkeston Town have been moved laterally from the Southern League Premier Central. The Matlock manager has managed both clubs with great success.

“.I’m really looking forward to the season with Basford and Ilkeston in the division. It would have been nice to have had Mickleover and Long Eaton United so there’d be more local derbies . I had some great times at Basford and Ilkeston taking them both into Step 3 but I’m at Matlock now. I made some good friends and a great affinity with the people running the clubs and the fans but now all I’m bothered about as I prepare for match day is getting three points for Matlock Town.”

The NPL Premier Division for 2023 /24 therefore comprises of Ashton United, Atherton Colleries, Bamber Bridge, Basford United, Bradford (Park Avenue), FC United of Manchester, Gainsborough Trinity, Guiseley, Hyde United, Ilkeston Town, Lancaster City, Macclesfield, Marine, Marske United, Matlock Town, Morpeth Town, Radcliffe, Stafford Rangers, Warrington Rylands, Whitby Town, Workington and Worksop Town.

Carruthers is hard at work revamping his squad for what will be his first full season in charge at the Proctor Cars Stadium. He began early by securing the services of defenders Jamie Sharman and Ioan Evans and also retaining Alex Byrne, Ethan Cartwright, Reece Styche, Karl Demidh and Robbie McNicholas. John Johnston had already been confirmed as a Gladiator for 2023/24 before the season concluded and injury stricken Connor Dimaio was also asked to stay on at Matlock by Carruthers. Departing is goalkeeper Jim Pollard along with midfielders Saul Milovanovic and Brad Abbott plus forward Jorome Slew.

But the hard work continues for Carruthers who says he likes to get his business done early.

“We’ve plenty of offers going out to players who’ve been at this level and the one higher and hopefully we’ll have something to report in the coming days. As soon as the season’s over it would be nice if a manager could switch off but this is a very important time. You can’t switch off, you’re meeting players, sorting contracts and terms. It’s great to get business done early, we know what we need, we’re not a million miles away and if we can get that additional quality from the players we’re after we should be in for a good season. Then there could be gems being released from full time clubs so you’re never going to rest. I’m delighted with what we’ve done so far, now we’re in the process of fine tuning to get us stronger.”

Carruthers is looking forward to the club’s Presentation Night in the Shorts Lounge on Saturday evening.

“It should be a great night, it feels like a long time since we’ve all met up. I’m looking forward to seeing the fans, getting their thoughts on things and celebrating what was a really good season given all of the challenges we faced. I feel we’ve got an exciting year ahead of us, lots of challenges against some very good clubs like one of my old clubs Macclesfield and Worksop Town where I know a lot of the players. I want everyone to enjoy the night on Saturday, I can’t wait to see everyone.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased online via the link on the club’s website but fans can pay on the night if they so wish.

Ian Richardson