the npl

Weekly News - 11/7/19

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Matlock Town will be at home for manager Steve Kittrick's first competitive game in charge when Bamber Bridge visit the Proctor Cars Stadium for the Bet Victor NPL Premier Division opener on Saturday 17 August.

The Gladiators were at home last season on the opening day when they hammered Lancaster City 4-0 and a similar result against City's neighbours would give Kittrick the perfect start.

But Matlock then faces two tough away trips to Basford United on Monday, August 19 and then Stafford Rangers on the following Saturday before a mouth-watering home August Bank Holiday Monday clash with Gainsborough Trinity, now managed by former Matlock Favourites Liam King and Ross Hannah. A stiff challenge at Ashton completes the August games.

The festive season sees Matlock host Buxton on Boxing Day and if both clubs are going well, a four-figure gate could be in prospect. The return A6 Derby clash is on Easter Monday. Matlock travel to Gainsborough on New Year's Day.

Two clubs new to Matlock fans feature in the division this term. Atherton Collieries come to Derbyshire on Tuesday, September 24 with Matlock visiting the Lancashire club on Saturday, February 29. Morpeth town, who are expected to do well after comfortably winning the East Division East last season make the long trek down the A1 on Saturday, October 5 with Matlock returning the favour on Saturday 21 March.

The season ends on April 25 at Stalybridge Celtic, the Gladiators last scheduled home game being versus Lancaster city seven days earlier.

Kittrick will possibly have half an eye on when he meets his former club Scarborough Athletic. He doesn't have to wait too long for a return to the Flamingo land Stadium with Matlock at the seaside on Tuesday, September 10. The Seadogs come to Matlock on Saturday 18 January.

Meanwhile, Matlock's pre-season campaign gets underway on Saturday with a visit from Burton Albion (3pm) before Chesterfield is in town on Tuesday night. Kittrick has so far made six new signings and a number of trialists are likely to feature as the build-up to the big kick-off commences.

Ian Richardson