Manager Mark Atkins reckons that he has found the experience that was perhaps lacking in his Matlock Town squad after agreeing deals with Worksop Town winger Chris Bettney and Frickley Athletic defender Simon Sturdy.
For Sturdy it is a return to the Reynolds Stadium having spent three months on loan with the Gladiators from Blue Square North Harrogate Town in the 2009/10 campaign.
And Matlock fans will be glad to see Bettney in their colours with him regularly being a thorn in their side and a regular scorer when facing them for the likes of Alfreton Town, Bradford Park Avenue and Retford United.
Bettney, 33, started out at Sheffield United but only managed one first team appearance between 1996 and 1999.
He was loaned out to Hull City for whom he played made 30 matches, scoring one goal.
Then came 39 appearances shared between Chesterfield, Rochdale and Macclesfield Town before moving into non league with Worksop, Ilkeston Town, Alfreton Town, Harrogate Town, Bradford Park Avenue and Retford before starting a second spell with Worksop at the start of last season.
“He’ll give us the width we’ve been lacking over the past two years or so and he’s an experienced player who has played for successful teams at a decent level,” said Atkins.
“I’m sure he’ll help the younger players along and get in good quality crosses. He’ll also get a good few goals for us having scored plenty against Matlock in the past, so we’re hoping he can put a few in the opposition’s net playing for us.”
At 34-years-old, Sturdy has a wealth of experience at Evo-Stik Premier and Blue Square North level having worn the colours of Guiseley, Droylsden, Eastwood Town - where he was a member of the Badgers’ Northern Premier league title winning side of 2008/09 - Harrogate Town and Frickley.
Atkins said: “He’ll offer us more cover in an area where we were a bit short towards the end of last season.
“He was very popular when he was here on loan before and he actually approached me about coming back, despite living up in York.”
With a number of clubs facing financial worries, Atkins reiterated the importance of keeping within a budget.
“There’s a budget and I have to stay within it which I’ve done in my two-and-a-half years here.
“With the stand and the Social Club being built we can’t spend quite as much as we’d like on the playing side but we’re managing to attract and keep some very good players.
“I think people can see what we have here and how we play our football and want to be part of it, part of a happy club. Both Chris and Simon were offered more money at other clubs but they still wanted to come here.”
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