the npl

Weekly News - 3/8/22

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Weekly News - 3/8/22

Strikers seem to be the main point of debate within the Matlock support lately after two departures in the last week.

It prompted manager Paul Phillips to pen an open letter to fans following some comments from worried fans on the club’s social media outlets, with Chairman Jay Beaumont reassuring fans that everything is being done to bring in worthy replacements.

Winger Jesurun Uchegbulam signed full time forms at neighbours Chesterfield last week before Reece Webb-Foster, having failed to score for the Gladiators since moving from Colne last February, joined Clitheroe, both players bringing in undisclosed fees.

“Jez got people off their seats, he’ll be very hard to replace but we couldn’t deny him the chance of full time football while for Reece it didn’t work out for him here and that can happen in football” said Phillips.

The Gladiators brought in striker Kallan Murphy from Chesterfield along with team mate, midfielder Leigh Whelan who both featured in the midweek 1-1 draw with Sheffield.

Aaron Opoku also was back in the squad after returning from holiday but hopes that trialist Nelson Agho might be the main to fill the striking void were dashed within ten minutes when he was carried off with a broken ankle.

“We were hoping that Nelson could fit the bill but that’s how our luck is going at the moment” reflected a rueful Phillips.

“He was out all last season with an acl injury so to suffer an injury like that just ten minutes into the game is awful. Our thoughts are with him and it goes without saying that we as a club will do everything to support him.”

So the search goes on for as Phillips added “we can’t keep relying on Jake Day to score the goals for us.” Day headed an equaliser from the resultant corner after Agho’s shot had been deflected behind when the injury occurred.

“We’ll keep on working to get the player in we want, myself, Kayde and the management team are always looking for players who’ll improve us but we’re not going to be held to ransom and pay over the odds, we’ve got to keep the budget sustainable. We’ll do our homework, when the right player at the right price is available we move for him, try and sell him the project and hopefully they go for what’s on offer.”

Phillips maintains, a goalscorer apart, that he is satisfied with his squad.

“We’re strong at the back, Jim Pollard’s starting to make the goalkeeping shirt his own and everything looks good in midfield, with the right forward addition we’re not a million miles away.”

Ryan Qualter and Jamie Sharman are minor fitness concerns for Saturday’s trip to Carlton but Phillips can add Al Byrne, Alex Wiles and Reece Kendall to his squad after they return from holiday.

“It’s time to start making decisions on people” Phillips concluded.

“Some have done really well while others have made the decision easy for me. Kallan Murphy and Leigh Whelan have come in from Chesterfield and have been great and I’d like to thank Neil Cluxton at Chesterfield for his help. We’re actively looking to add to our squad and there’s potential signings that I’ll be hoping to get over the line.”

Matlock’s NPL Premier Division campaign gets under way with a home meeting with Whitby Town on Saturday 13 August.

Ian Richardson