the npl

Weekly News - 1/7/20

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Weekly News - 1/7/20

Having signed striker Sefton Gonzales last weekend, Matlock boss Paul Phillips hinted of more good news for Gladiators fans in the attacking department.

“I’m hoping to get another striker over the line fairly soon to try and get us to another level” said Phillips who is acutely aware of Matlock’s poor goalscoring record in the cut short 2019/20 campaign and the subsequent loss of top scorer Marcus Marshall to Basford United.

Matlock scored only 36 league goals in 28 league outings, the joint second lowest in the division so Phillips was duty bound to bring in new forwards.

He says Gonzales is striker he was looking for, and standing at 6’5”, he is certainly going to have a presence.

“He’ll be both the perfect foil and the target man we’ve being crying out for and he’ll compliment our forward line with his physicality. He can play as a number nine or at the side of someone and he’s quick. A lot of teams have been after him so I’m really delighted to get this deal over the line and all being well he’ll perform how we know he can and we’ll have a right player on our hands.”

Gonzales has played for FC United of Manchester, Stockport County, Chorley, Droylsden and Stalybridge Celtic `before joining Colne at the start of last season. After impressing in Colne’s FA Cup win over South Shields, the North Easterners signed him and he netted five goals in thirteen appearances.

Phillips says there is no requirement for his side to play a direct style given Gonzales’ height and attributes but it can be another weapon in their armoury.

“He’s a massive signing for us given the clubs he’s played for, his goalscoring record and what he can bring to the table for us. I’m confident I’ve got a lad who can play with him. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll play a direct style but there’s a lot of pressure about to play football from the back these days. My view is that if we can play in the opponents’ half, there’s not only a much better chance of scoring more goals but we can also eliminate the risk of conceding sloppy goals. The more arrows we have to our bow,, the better chance we have of winning a football game.”

Phillips has brought in players from the north and despite them living outside of Matlock’s traditional catchment area, the Matlock boss says ’ signings live at least an hour’s drive away from Derbyshire, he says that they needed “no persuasion” to sign for the Gladiators.

“There was no persuasion at all, they all know what the club wants to do, what I want to do and what I expect from them, everything has been spelled out to them and everyone who signs is fully aware of what’s happening. I know before the club’s had lads from the Doncaster and Sheffield areas, I know the north west but to be honest we’ve got players from Burnley, Colne, Warrington Hull….no stone’s been left unturned in getting what we feel are the right type of players.”

With many clubs announcing high calibre signings, a tough, competitive league should again be in prospect, Phillips, though is pleased with the signings he has been able to confirm so far and those he has in the pipeline.

“Clubs are announcing big signings and that’s their prerogative but I wouldn’t swap our lads with anyone. I said this to the board last week when we met for a catch-up, I feel we’re in a very good place. In this league camaraderie, unity and the will to win counts for a lot and those we’ve brought in have that in abundance. It’s not just about ability, showing that will to win can take you a lot further.”

Phillips also cleared up any confusion that may have occurred in his comments last week about clubs needing clarity as to when the new season will get under away after Covid-19.

“Give us a date” he proclaimed last week.

“I’d like to say that our league has handled the whole situation very well, they’ve done us proud and I want to emphasise I wasn’t being critical of the league” he said.

“We just want to know where we’re going as a club and it would help us if people from above could make a decision so we can get on with things” he added.

Ian Richardson