the npl

Weekly News - 7/8/19

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Weekly News - 7/8/19

With the new league season starting at home to Bamber Bridge on Saturday week it’s work in progress for Matlock Town with Steve Kittrick saying “it’s all about a week on Saturday” ahead of this weekend’s final pre-season game at Lincoln United.

The Gladiators head to Ashby Avenue to face the Whites who operate in the South East Division of the Bet Victor NPL, at the same level as Loughborough Dynamo who Matlock beat 1-0 last weekend to record their first win under Kittrick.

Marcus Marshall headed the Gladiators’ winner on 32 minutes for his third goal of the pre-season programme, but the Gladiators missed a number of chances to put the game to bed, something that was not lost on Kittrick.

“Marcus scoring again was positive but he does need some help up there. We had chances to score more, for instance, there was one time when we broke from their corner and had something like four versus two but still couldn’t put the chance away. As I’ve said before we badly need some extra strength in the attacking areas, we’ve just the two strikers with other sides having three or four. Now the Conference North has started, players should become available when they’re not getting a game. Once we get settled though I’m confident we’ll get the chances and score the goals.”

Kittrick hinted that he was hopeful of someone coming in for the Lincoln clash, saying he had ”irons in the fire” although goalkeeper Ross Durrant will not be there after being released by the Gladiators this week. The vastly experienced Jon Stewart has come in and has turned in some impressive displays to suggest that he and not Durrant would be the first choice number one for Kittrick.

Looking back at the Loughborough win, Kittrick was impressed with the first clean sheet under his stewardship.

“I don’t think it was a particularly good game for both teams, it was rather scrappy but we’re still looking at people and that’s going to happen. The clean sheet was a really big bonus, you stand a better chance of winning games. We worked well as a team, we gave some young lads a chance. The back five though looked really solid, that’s a massive plus for me.”

Kittrick has had a difficult start at Matlock with his assistant Chris Bolder opting to leave to take on the manager’s job at newly formed North Ferriby United within a week of being appointed.

Then late last week goalkeeping coach Adam Sollitt accepted an offer from National League North neighbours Alfreton Town to take up a similar role with the Reds.

“It is what it is, these things are sent to try us,” said Kittrick. “it’s not about me, it’s about the club and we have to move on. Sol (Sollitt) has done a great job here and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Matlock is presently seeking a replacement for Sollitt.

Ian Richardson