the npl

Weekly News - 4/8/21

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Weekly News - 4/8/21

Matlock Town boss Paul Phillips’ plans ahead of the new season stalled slightly in midweek as news emerged of a hitch in bringing a loan striker to the Proctor Cars Stadium.

Phillips decided to recruit the loanee to cover for the three game suspension of captain and giant striker Liam Hughes who will be out for the opening three games of the season.

But with the deal seemingly being confirmed between Matlock and his parent club, the player was taken ill.As things stand there is no news as to his condition.

“There’d been a health issue while the lad was training at his club and it wasn’t clear what the problem was. Both ourselves and his club are in agreement that the lad’s health is the biggest thing, his health comes before anything else.”

Phillips was planning on including the loanee in his squad for the friendly at Ossett United this Saturday, Matlock’s final warm up match before the NPL Premier Division season gets under way a week later, the Gladiators travelling to one of Phillips’ and for that matter, Sam Egerton’s, Mark Lees’ , John Pritchard’s and Kayde Coppin’s f ormer clubs Ashton United.

“The deal’s not dead though, it’ll be a matter of seeing how things go in the coming days. Whoever comes in has to be the right fit , we’d done our homework and we thought that this lad fitted the bill. Other strikers have come to our notice, but thay have to be better than the options we currently have at the club and we don’t think they are..”

Other issues have disrupted preparations during the last week.

Jonathan Wafula missed the wins at Clipstone and Sheffield due to being “pinged” by the NHS Covid 19 app

Alex Wiles, previously missing due to the same reason, was due to start the 3-1 win at Sheffield on Saturday but felt his hamstring tighten in the warm up so he was not risked, Declan Walker taking his place..Early on in the game, Callum Chippendale felt a slight problem with his groin and was replaced by Craig Carney.

“We missed Wilesy and Chippy but we’re not going to grumble too much as players are going to get issues such as these having played little football in the past year or so. Also the pinging is something we’ll have to accept.”

Phillips may yet add to his squad before the big kick off but he will be satisfied with a pre season which has brought seven wins out of eight. The Matlock boss is expecting a tough test at Oseett who were unbeaten in their pre season campaign until National League North York City beat them 1-0 on Tuesday night.

“Ossett are a good team and I think they’ll provide us with the same sort of game we can expect at Ashton in our first game” explained Phillips.

“They have some experienced lads such as Ross Killock and James Walshaw, players who know how to win so it’ll be a very good test for us.”

Ian Richardson