Matlock Town are likely to have new faces in their squad when they head to Bamber Bridge for their NPL Premier Division curtain raiser on Saturday.
After their narrow 1-0 Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round win over minnows OJM Black Country Rangers on Saturday, Gladiators boss Paul Phillips stressed the need for reinforcements.
Central defender Jake Hull (18) arrived on a two months short term loan from Rotherham United. Hull had signed his first professional contract only last month after graduating from the Millers Academy.
A midfielder trained with Matlock on Tuesday night and Matlock expect to be able to announce the signing before they travel to Lancashire. There may be a second midfielder while the Gladiators are “working on” strengthening their resources in attack.
“There could be two midfielders at the club by Saturday,” he said.
"What the FA Cup game showed me last Saturday is that we need lads in there that are big and athletic.
We’re also working hard to bring a striker in but there’s a lot of competition out there, everyone wants that good striker.”
On the injury front, Callum Chippendale has had a scan on his knee injury sustained at Tamworth while fellow midfielder Nathan Valentine returned to the training field on Tuesday night. There is also encouraging news regarding goalkeeper Jon Stewart and winger Craig King.
Stewart was named as a substitute in the FA Cup game while King came on as an 81st minute substitute bit could not finish the tie being helped off alongside physiotherapist Jack Gleave close to the final whistle.
“Jon Stewart’s ahead of schedule which is obviously good news for he’s a top goalkeeper,” said Phillips.
“We’ll know on Friday what the situation is with Callum Chippendale, obviously we’re hoping it’s good news.
"It was good to have Nathan Valentine back training and obviously we were all very concerned when Craig King went off last Saturday.
"We didn’t want it to be a repeat of the knee injury that had kept him out for such a long time. But it’s good news as it looks he’ll only be missing for two weeks, it’s more wear and tear than anything.
"it’s important we manage Kingy properly in the next few weeks.”
Phillips watched Bamber Bridge in their final friendly on Tuesday as they drew 2-2 with a Salford City XI.
He also had personnel watching Matlock’s next FA Cup opponents, Quorn, managed by popular Gladiator Cleveland Taylor as the Foxhunters drew 2-2 at Loughborough University, Matlock head to Farley Way on Tuesday night.
“Bamber are a good side who attack well with Richie Allen up front and they will try and play football the right way,” said Phillips.
“It’s always a hard place to go but I think we could have the tools to beat them.”
Matlock will be hoping for a repeat of the results against Brig last season when the Gladiators achieved their only league double of the shortened campaign.
A 1-0 opening day win at the Proctor Cars Stadium was followed by a 2-1 win in the return during December.
Striker Liam Hughes has been Matlock’s match day captain in recent games but Phillips confirmed that club captain Adam Yates will mark his 500th Matlock appearance by leading the Gladiators out on Saturday.
Yates made his Matlock debut in a 2-1 home win against FC United of Manchester in March 2009 after impressing manager Mark Atkins for Shirebrook Town in a slender Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final defeat by the Gladiators.
“Adam will be captain on Saturday, he’s a great character and a great player.
"It’s a tremendous achievement and we’re all really pleased for him, we’re very lucky to have a player of his calibre at the club,” said the Matlock boss.
Bamber Bridge will have a capacity of 450 while Quorn’s capacity is just 300 so Matlock officials are advising fans wanting to travel to purchase tickets ahead of the day.
Bamber have sent 50 tickets to Matlock which can be bought from the club shop each morning between 9 and 12 noon. Supporters can also ring the shop on 01629 583866 or e mail [email protected] while another way to obtain the ticket is by ringing the Bamber Bridge clubhouse on 01772 909695.
For the Quorn tie, tickets can be booked online by following this website link www.ticketsource,co.uk/quorn-football-club