Weekly News - 24/7/19
Steve Kittrick says he still has room in his squad for more signings as preparations continue for the Bet Victor NPL Premier Division campaign which begins on 17 August.
The Gladiators are three games into their pre-season campaign which has brought draws against Burton Albion and Frickley Athletic and a narrow loss to Chesterfield.
Although Kittrick says that wins in pre-season are not the be-all and end-all, Matlock’s fans will be keen to see their side break their duck in the warm-up games at Worksop on Saturday.
Reflecting on the 2-2 scoreline in West Yorkshire, Kittrick said it was good practice for what lies ahead, especially in the hectic start to the campaign when midweek games come thick and fast.
“We’d had two tough games against really good professional sides and it looked as if they’d took it out of the lads. Some looked leggy and tired but you learn about people in these situations and when the season gets underway the lads are going to have to recover quickly both mentally and physically with the Saturday/Tuesday games.”
Kittrick used the game to try out a number of things and finished the match in an upbeat mood despite his side wasting a glut of second-half chances.
“We created loads of chances in the second half after an indifferent start. We went three at the back to start off with but changed it after twenty minutes and I was pleased with the way the lads reacted in the second half. We had a few trialists in and we used the game to have a look at people, it’s what these games are for.”
The Matlock boss is expecting a tough game at Worksop Town on Saturday with the Tigers back in the NPL after a five-year spell in the Northern Counties East League which they won last season.
“It’ll be another stern game for us against a strong Worksop team. All of these games are providing us with different tests which are good preparation for the season ahead.”
The Gladiators are back at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday (7.30 pm) when Sheffield United are the visitors. It is understood that Blades boss Chris Wilder has said some first-team players will be involved and Matlock fans may also get the opportunity to see two of their recent young stars, Zak Brunt and Ashton Hall in action against them in United colours.
It has been a case of one in and one out for Kittrick this week. Experienced goalkeeper Jon Stewart signed on the dotted line on Saturday but over the weekend he learned that defender Louis Wardle had opted to play in Iceland.
“Louis wants to play full-time football and he got an offer to play out in Iceland. I’ve no problem with that and I hope everything goes well for him. Jon’s a great signing for us. I think we’re probably a couple of players short but there’s still three and a half weeks to go before we start the league games. I think we need another striker, other clubs have three or four and we’ve got just the two at the moment but Conference North players will become available in the next week or two and I’m sure we can get the right people in, a diamond could well become available who’ll be just right for us.”
All at Matlock were saddened to hear of the death of Philip Williams, one of their most fervent supporters who followed Matlock religiously home and away. Frickley Secretary Penny Wall approached Matlock before kick-off on Saturday and a minute’s silence was held in Philip’s memory.
“We know Philip was Matlock Town through and through and we felt it was the least we could do,” she said.
“It was a great gesture appreciated by us all and I’m sure Phil’s family appreciated it too. It shows the true spirit of the non-league game and in particular, the camaraderie within the NPL” said a Matlock spokesman. “He was a great supporter and he’ll be massively missed around the place.”