Hot on the heels of captain John Johnston signing on the dotted line for the new NPL Premier Division season, Matlock Town have secured the services of striker Liam Hardy.

The vastly experienced frontman joined Matlock on deadline day last season from Liversedge and hit four goals as Town rallied towards the end of the season from an uncomfortable position just above the drop zone.

Recently installed Gladiators boss Nicky Law had no hesitation in re=engaging Hardy for the new season.

“He’s a no nonsense player who’s a proven goalscorer at good levels of non league football” Law declared.

“He’s also a strong character who’ll be good within the club and I think he proved at the back end of last season that he’s still got what’s required, he’ll always score goals and I think he’ll prove to be invaluable to us.”

Matlock fans will be hoping he can replicate the form he showed  at neighbouring Buxton when he was often the scourge of the Gladiators and many other opposing teams. He was the Bucks second highest ever scorer knocking in 135 goals for the Bucks. 

Hardy says he is looking forward to the coming campaign and feels the Gladiators will have a much improved season.

“I’m buzzing, when Nicky said he wanted to sign me I was delighted, I had a good finish to the season and can hopefully carry it on to next season. It’s a great club, the fans turn out on their numbers and I’m confident we’ll be up there challenging at the right end of the table next season.”

26 years old central defender Connor O’Grady is Matlock Town’s second new recruit of the summer.

O’Grady joins the Gladiators from NPL Western Division outfit Stalybridge Celtic having played 36 matches for the Bower Fold outfit last season. After coming through the youth academy at Sheffield Wednesday, O’Grady made his first team debut for the Owls against Cambridge United in the EFL Cup during August 2016. Following his departure from Hillsborough in 2019 he signed for Buxton and after two years in North Derbyshire he made the move to Stalybridge in May 2021.

Town boss Nicky Law says he is an out and out defender who will prove to be a good addition alongside the recently signed Shaun Brisley.

“Connor’s well established on the non league scene and at 26 is just the right age for us. He’s a good size and a sound defender, a defender first and foremost who knows the non league game and lives fairly local to the club in Sheffield. Having talked with him it’s clear he’s come to the club for all of the right reasons and he should prove to be an ideal partner for Shaun Brisley.”