Town turn down bid for Hannah

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MATLOCK Town have confirmed they have turned down an offer from League Two side Torquay United for ace marksman Ross Hannah.

The striker’s 42 goals this season have made him a hot property and the Gladiators have received offers from both Football League and Blue Square Premier teams this season.

Although Torquay United fans’ forum websites were rife with rumours on Tuesday that Hannah had put pen to paper for Paul Buckle’s side, Matlock Town chairman Tom Wright told the Mercury on Wednesday morning that an offer had been turned down.

He explained: “Ross Hannah is still a Matlock Town player.

“He has been down to Torquay and he took part in a behind-closed-doors match there but the offer Torquay have made for Ross is below our valuation so we have turned it down.

“Ross is in the squad for tonight’s (Wednesday) game at Whitby as far as we are concerned.”

This policy of ‘business as usual’ was echoed by manager Mark Atkins, who also confirmed Hannah was still a Matlock player as the Mercury went to press.

He explained: “This is one of a number of offers the club has had for Ross.

“He’s still our player and I certainly don’t want to sell him, although I appreciate that he’s a player other clubs would be interested in.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s in the squad for tonight’s game at Whitby and until I’m told any different, he remains a Matlock Town player.”

The news comes in the same week that the club won a brace of awards.

The first saw Mark Atkins being named as the Evo-Stik League Premier Division Manager of the Month for February.

The second has seen the Gladiators’ new stand acclaimed as the best new stand of 2011 in the Groundtastic Sports magazine.

Atkins has dedicated his award to his players who, during the month, had an unblemished record of six wins out of six, including a haul of 12 valuable league points which now gives them a good chance of qualifying for the play-offs.

In those six outings, Matlock found the net 20 times, conceding just four goals.

“Naturally I’m very pleased but it’s full credit to the players,” said Atkins.

“They’ve been the ones who’ve gone out there and done the business with a 100 per cent record in six matches and I’m very pleased for everyone connected with the club.”

Atkins will receive his award before kick-off at next Tuesday night’s home derby with Buxton and will clearly be hoping that a fantastic February will roll on into a marvellous March.

As for the stand award, it is fine recognition of the hard work and effort from a lot of people, according to Tom Wright.

“We think the stand looks really great and it’s very nice to see all of the hard work recognised.

“A lot of people have put in a lot of their spare time and raised a lot of money to provide a facility that has fantastic changing facilities plus a great view in comfort for fans to come down and enjoy a very good standard of football.”

He added: “The award’s for all of these people who have done so much.”

The Gladiators have been drawn away to Ashton United in the Evo-Stik League Challenge Cup semi-final, the tie taking place on Monday April 4.

Strangely, the Gladiators were due to visit Ashton for a league game on that night, but the Cup semi-final has pushed that trip back by another seven days to Monday April 11.

The other semi-final sees Northwich Victoria host Bradford Park Avenue.

Matlock’s home game with Whitby Town on Saturday, March 26 will now kick off at 1pm to avoid a clash with the Wales v England Euro 2012 qualifier which starts a the traditional time of 3pm.