Boss is happy with his squad

Tyeisse 'TJ' Nightingale of Matlock Town.
Tyeisse 'TJ' Nightingale of Matlock Town.

Striker Tyeisse Nightingale agreed to join Matlock Town last Friday, and promptly celebrated with two goals in the 5-0 mauling of Belper last weekend.

This came hard on the heels of goalkeeper Jon Kennedy signing a one-year contract with the Gladiators.

So Matlock head to Ashton United in the new season’s curtain raiser on Saturday in good spirits.

Only midfielder Kris Bowler, serving a two-game suspension, is set to miss out.

Nightingale could be the final piece in manager Mark Atkins’s jigsaw. Known as TJ, he has had two spells with Hucknall Town plus brief stays at Alfreton Town and Eastwood Town.

A promising first performance in the 3-2 home win against Derby in which he scored the opening goal, was brought to a premature end with a foot injury but he recovered to play well in the narrow defeat by Alfreton before his brace last weekend.

“After the Alfreton game, I’d seen enough to want to offer Tyeisse a deal,” explained Atkins. “He then contacted me on Friday and said he’d love to sign for us, so he’s a very good addition to the squad. He’s a goalscorer so we now have the four forwards we wanted.”

All that is left for Atkins is to decide on his front two. Ian Holmes is back after a fortnight’s holiday and looks likely to claim one place.

n Continued on page 33

Then it seems a choice between Nightingale, the busy Lee Whittington who has hit four pre season goals and Nathan Joynes, who made a comeback as a substitute at Belper following his hamstring problem.

Atkins was equally delighted at Kennedy signing a contract. The 30-year-old former England non league international has turned in some brilliant performances since joining Matlock from league rivals Worksop Town and this prompted the contract offer.

“We felt that it was something we had to do for he’s too good a keeper for us to lose. We were delighted when he signed for us and we’re even more pleased he’s signed the contract. Jon was also keen himself to sign the contract, he’s enjoying himself here, so all in all it’s a good deal for everyone.”

The pre-season programme has gone well according to Atkins, but with it came a warning.

“We’ve done very well but you win nothing in pre-season. The new lads have gelled together well but Saturday is what matters. We face a tough start for Ashton always start well and then we’ve got a very difficult match at home to Chasetown on Wednesday night.

“This league seems to get tougher each season so we’ve had to strengthen the squad to get where we want to be. We’ve got a better squad than this time last season. I’ve impressed on them that we need to be bang on in every game we play.”