Gladiators all set to welcome US visitors

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International fare is on the menu at the Autoworld Arena on Monday night as Matlock Town host North American Soccer League Minnesota United in a prestige friendly.

The Gladiators snapped up the opportunity to stage the match following talks involving local Championship side Derby County who will also face Minnesota at their Moor Farm training headquarters a week later.

Founded just four years ago in 2010, United are visiting England as part of their pre-season preparations.

Their squad is multi-national with 13 from the USA, three Brazilians and one each from Italy, Jamaica, Serbia and Japan.

Head coach Manny Lagos was a member of the USA’s Olympic team in 1992 while coaches Carl Craig and Paul O’Connor have roots in the north-east of England.

And for Matlock fans there’s a special treat as James Lukic will be making an appearance.

Lukic has played more than 600 games for the club but due to a troublesome injury and work commitments, has not featured at all this season.

“It’s a one off,” explained Matlock boss Mark Atkins.

“He’s hardly trained so we don’t know how long he’ll last but it’s a chance for the fans to see him in action for Matlock again, and if things go well for him, who knows, we might see him back next season.

“We thought it nice for a player who has given the club such outstanding commitment and service to be able to play in a game which should be a great spectacle a fantastic experience for both the players and the fans.”

Kick-off is at 7.45pm with entrance fees set at £7 for adults, £4 concessions and under 12s being admitted free.