Derby days for the Gladiators?

Steve Warne
Steve Warne

Local derbies appear to be on the menu for Matlock Town following the draws by the Football Association for the FA Cup and FA Trophy competitions.

If games go to form and to league status, then it looks like an A6 home derby with Belper Town in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round on Saturday, September 8.

But it could be Lincolnshire side Deeping Rangers from the United Counties League or Holbrook Sports from the East Midlands League who play each other in an Extra Preliminary Round tie on August 11 for the right to take on the Nailers in the Preliminary Round on August 25.

Belper have bad memories of facing both teams. Neighbours Holbrook have twice dumped them out of the competition in the last three seasons, while Deeping shocked Belper last term.

Former Matlock skipper Steve Warne moved to Belper last season and will obviously be keen to not only face his former club but put one over them while the Matlock line-up could include Micky Harcourt, a former Belper favourite.

The last competitive game between the clubs came in the 2010 Derbyshire Senior Cup Final, which Matlock won comfortably at Pride Park. Liam King and former Belper striker Ross Hannah netted with Belper scarcely threatening a reply on the night.

Matlock would probably start as favourites again but Belper are strongly tipped for promotion from Evostik First Division South, so, should the Nailers get through, a close game could be on the cards.

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The FA Trophy draw is more clearcut with the Gladiators travelling to Eastwood Town on Saturday, September 29.

The Badgers were relegated from Blue Square Conference North last season but manager John Ramshaw has been busy in the transfer market, signing a host of players including former Gladiators TJ Nightingale and Paul Riley.

The new season’s Evo-Stik League fixtures were originally expected to be announced tomorrow (Friday), but these now look like being delayed, due to some tragic personal news for the fixture compiler.

n Matlock’s pre-season friendly programme begins with a trip to Baris NCEL Division One outfit Teversal on Tuesday night (7.45 pm).