the npl

Weekly News - 19/6/19

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Weekly News - 19/6/19

Newly appointed Matlock assistant boss Luke Potter says promotion must be the aim as he embarks on his first season with manager Steve Kittrick at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

Potter who turns 30 in July, may be young in the managerial stakes but had to turn to life on the touchline when he was forced to retire from the professional game in April 2012 due to a knee injury, having made nineteen first-team appearances for Barnsley. He then worked as a coach at Oakwell with the Barnsley Academy and was the manager at Ossett Albion before taking on the managerial hot seat at Northern Counties East League Athersley Recreation.

“You’ve got to aim as high as you can else there’s no point being involved in football,” said Potter who as a former central defender recognises the need for the Gladiators to improve defensively having had the worst defensive record of the twenty-one clubs who completed the 2018/19 Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division campaign.

“It’s important we have a solid base with a decent goalkeeper, two solid central defenders so we have a solid spine. Steve (Kittrick) wants to be successful and I’m the same. We’ll be looking to having a good pre-season so we can hit the ground running.”

Potter left Athersley in May and is delighted to link up with Kittrick.

“I’m over the moon at coming to Matlock and to be working with Steve and it’s a great opportunity for me working at a higher level.”

Kittrick took his time in selecting his number two after his original assistant, Chris Bolder, left after only a week in the job to take up the vacant managerial position at newly formed North Ferriby FC.

“Luke knows the technical side of the game, he’s well qualified with a UEFA B licence and a degree in Sports Science. He’s played in both the Football League and at non league level,(He had loan spells at Stafford Rangers, Kettering Town and Alfreton Town while at Barnsley) so he knows the non league game and what’s required. He can supervise the training while I concentrate on other matters. The big thing for me though was that he was hungry to come here and we’ll be signing a couple of players he knows very well. It’s an exciting time for him, a challenge for him, he can do the job and it’s a fine opportunity for Luke to express himself.”

Potter will be in command for the next fortnight as Kittrick takes his annual holiday.

Matlock are knitting their side together for the new season with six new signings

since Kittrick arrived while four of last season’s squad have so far committed themselves for the 2018/19 campaign.

The latest new recruit is 22 years old midfielder Andrew Wright from Coalville Town. Jacksdale based Wright had a loan spell at Matlock from Lincoln City in 2016/17 before joining Grantham prior to spending last season with Coalville, netting seventeen times for the Ravens. Kittrick had previously brought in full backs Jordon Cooke (Stamford) and Ben Gordon (Gainsborough Trinity), midfielder Luke Dean (Bradford Park Avenue), winger Pietu Crouz (Belper Town) while striker Luke Hinsley is back at the Proctor Cars Stadium after spending five months at Matlock last season.

Of last season’s squad, skipper Adam Yates, defender Dwayne Wiley, goalkeeper Ross Durrant and striker Marcus Marshall will again be in Gladiators’ colours.

Kittrick says he is pleased with his work to date but says there is still more to be done.

“I’m very happy with the business we’ve done so far, there’s more to come” said Kittrick

Midfielder Michael Williams has left Matlock Town and linked up with Sheffield FC in the Evo-Stik South East Division.

Williams (25) joined the Gladiators from Ilkeston FC in August 2016 and quickly became a fans favourite with some energetic displays, capped by some memorable goals.

He played a key role in the Gladiators’ memorable cup runs in 2016.17 when they reached the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, the 2nd Round of the FA Trophy beating higher ranked opposition on the way in FC Halifax Town and Solihull Moors and won the Derbyshire Senior Cup at Chesterfield, scoring the Gladiators second goal in a 5-0 demolition of Gresley.

Williams was still prominent in a less successful 2017/18 campaign but missed long periods of last season through injury. Despite that, he was still awarded with the honour of scoring the Gladiators goal of the season, a stunning twenty five yarder earning Matlock a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Basford United in April.

He made 110 appearances for Matlock netting 24 goals.

“Willow was an exceptional player for Matlock and you knew he’d run through a brick wall for you if he had to “ commented a Matlock spokesman.

“We’re sad to see him go but we wish him and his family who regularly attended Matlock games all the very best for the future.”

Ian Richardson