Weekly News - 22/7/20
With the new NPL season having a confirmed start date of Saturday 19 September, Matlock’s Chairman Bryn Apperley and manager Paul Phillips are adopting a united stance.
“Let’s get cracking” is the message from Mr Apperley who also knows there is a lot of hard work ahead in getting Matlock’s ground and facilities Covid-19 compliant.
Phillips meanwhile has been championing the announcement of a start date, his Matlock players having undertaken socially distanced training sessions for the past few weeks.
“I think everyone’s pleased that it looks like we’ll be back to playing football again soon” said the Gladiators Chairman.
“It’s been a long wait for us all and while there’ll understandably be some changes to comply with what the Government is stipulating, I’m sure all our fans will be understanding and put up with what might seem to be a little inconvenience. But we’re all looking forward to getting going again, everyone down at the club has put a lot of effort in during the close season with maintenance and there’s also been a lot of hard work administratively. Our management team have been working hard and I think we’ll have a good strong squad this season and people will enjoy what they see.”
Guidelines from the FA say that pre season games can begin from August but as things stand, spectators will not be allowed entry to the friendly games until September 5. Matlock will confirm their pre season schedule shortly. The 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup has a midweek slot, with ties currently being scheduled for Tuesday 22 September and there will be no replays in either the FA Cup or FA Trophy. The final week of the playing season has been arranged for Saturday 8 May in what will be a 34 week season with more midweek games than normal, although there will be no League Cup competition and in respect of the Derbyshire Senior Cup, clarification is being sought that NPL clubs could gain exemption from taking part.
“It’s going to be different” added Mr Apperley. “We at Matlock Town will be working hard in the coming weeks to ensure all spectators enjoy our games safely and we can’t wait to welcome people back.”
Phillips is ”over the moon” that the start date has been announced.
“It’s fantastic for everyone, not only us and it looks like we can have spectators in for friendlies from 5 September so hopefully we can get some attractive opposition in for the fans ahead of the league starting. I’m also relieved as everyone knows I’ve been asking for this for a few weeks now. We’ll only be just over a month late although it’ll be more hectic with more midweekers.”
New Dad Chib Chilaka is staying on at Matlock Town.
The 33 years old Nigerian, who joined Matlock from Grantham Town last October has signed on the dotted line as he celebrates the birth of his second child, a baby boy.
A lot of Chilaka’s appearances came from the substitute’s bench but he still netted ten times at an average of a goal in every two and a bit games in a season when Matlock struggled to score. He memorably got a nap hand in Matlock’s 7-1 demolition of Borrowash Victoria in the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
Matlock boss Paul Phillips is delighted to add Chilaka to the strike force of Sefton Gonzales, Liam Hughes, Braulio Maeico and Kayde Coppin.
“I’ve sent him my congratulations on the birth of his baby boy which has understandably meant he hasn’t been able to do all of the sessions we’ve put on during the past few weeks. We’ve now got good competition for the forward positions, I’ve told him he’s part of a squad battling to get into the matchday sixteen. I liked him at the end of last season, no disrespect to anyone else but I always thought we looked a better side when he was playing. He wasn’t fit enough though, so he knows what he’s got to do and he was working tremendously hard prior to the lockdown. He’s got to work hard again now to catch up with the other lads now in the next five or six weeks. I believe in him, he’s a top quality striker who will increase competition in the striking department.”
Matlock also may have another couple of signings to announce soon and Phillips says Matlock have a 20 year old training with them to challenge Jon Stewart for the goalkeeping position.
“We’re hoping Jon has a great season but we have a lad training with us that we could put out on dual registration that can act as cover and also push Jon for the goalkeeping shirt. The goalkeeping position’s no different, we want people to push each other all over the pitch.”
Phillips is pleased with his work in the transfer market during the summer, having brought in a dozen new faces.
He had tweeted over the weekend “Nearly done, what a squad, leaders all the way through. I’m hoping the Gladiators can now start punching their weight.”
Developing these thoughts Phillips added
“Nothing’s ever set in stone but I had this same good feeling when we qualified for the play-offs at Ashton United. The lads have set the standard, everyone’s demanding of each other even in the short sessions we’ve had during the Covid outbreak and you get the belief that you can do things in football. Now we know what’s happening with starting the season, things will step up with Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday sessions. We’ve got leaders in the squad who won’t settle for second best. If we stay lucky with injuries, we could be in for a really good season.”