After a summer of huge change which saw Nicky Law installed as manager and a host of last season’s squad released, Matlock Town with a flood of newcomers take on Chesterfield in their first pre season outing at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Law is well aware that it is a tough first game for his part timers in what overall is a challenging pre season campaign.

“We’ll be as ready as we can be in the limited time we’ve had together on the training pitch. I know at the moment we’re a long way away from where I want us to be but that could be the case for a lot of teams at this point in time. These kind of games are always tough , our home games see us come across three very good local professional sides who all gained promotion last season  so they’re different animals if you like. But it is what it is and we know that these games are of huge financial benefit to the club.

Law says that everyone needs to be patient as he builds a virtually new squad. Only Liam Hardy, Joe West and John Johnston have signed on from last season while Law has brought in   new faces in the form of goalkeeper Ben Saunders, defenders Shaun Brisley, Connor O’Grady, Charlie Oglesby and Josh Ashman, midfielders Sam Essien and George Milner, winger Tomas Poole and forward Benni Ndlovu with one more signing expected to be announced in the coming days.

“It’s a new group but we’re nowhere near complete yet as I believe we need four, five, maybe six more lads from this level or the level above. I’m learning about the players who in turn are learning about me so its very much work in progress. I’m satisfied with the business we’ve done so far, we got a core group together fairly quickly. But we have to get others in and hopefully we can do that in the next couple of weeks or so. What we have done is get the average age of the squad down.”

Saturday’s kick off time has been altered from 3 to 2 pm due to the England v Switzerland Euro 2024 quarter final kicking off at 5 pm. Liam Hardy and George Milner will miss the game due to holiday commitments.

Matlock will then face a home game with Derby County next Friday (July 12) with their other home pre season game being against Mansfield Town on Tuesday August 6. The Glaqdiators travel to Buxton on Tuesday 23 July, Sheffield FC on Saturday 27 July and Alfreton Town on Tuesday 3 August before the new NPL season kicks off on Saturday 10 August.


Curtis Durose is Matlock Town’s latest acquisition for the coming season as the Gladiators prepare for this Saturday’s Ernie Moss Challenge Cup home meeting with Chesterfield.
The 20 year old spent the last two and a half months of last season on loan from Rotherham United before his release from the New York Stadium during the summer. During the2022/23 season Durose spent a successful loan period at Gainsborough Trinity helping the Holy Blues qualify for the end of season play-offs. At the beginning of last season he was on loan at National League North Scarborough Athletic.
Law says if Durose can apply himself to the job in hand, he could re-establish himself in the full time game.
“Curtis is another young player who had a good spell on loan at Gainsborough the season before last but was in and out of things when he was at Matlock. He’s a talented lad and if he can get his head down, work hard and fulfil the potential he has, he may get back into League football.”
Durose joins fellow new additions in goalkeeper Ben Saunders (Stocksbridge Park Steels), defenders Joe Ashman (Guiseley), Shaun Brisley (Alfreton Town), Connor O’Grady (Stalybridge Celtic) and Charlie Oglesby (Stocksbridge Park Steels), midfielders George Milner (Ashton United) and Sam Essien (Boston United), winger Tomas Poole (Stocksbridge Park Steels) and forward Benni Ndlovu *Sheffield FC).

IAN RICHARDSON  04 July 2024