Gladiators close in on new summer signings

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Matlock Town boss Dave Hoole is hopeful of getting two players over the line by the end of this week, as he and assistant Shaun Harrad go about reshaping the Gladiators squad.

Hoole and his backroom staff at Causeway Lane have been working hard over the past weeks to ensure the club builds on the progress seen under the new management team towards the end of last season.

Matlock enjoyed an upturn in performances and results following Hoole’s appointment as caretaker manager in March, going seven games unbeaten in April and finishing the season 15th in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier.

They have since been appointed to the position of manager, maintained the same backroom staff, and are currently assembling a squad of players ready to face the challenges ahead next season.

“We’ve been working really hard to try and get players in in certain areas of the field where we feel we need strengthening,” Hoole told the Matlock Mercury.

“We’re also keen to keep hold of players we feel are valuable and are going to be a massive asset to the side moving forward.

“There’s been a lot of activity and hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be able to reveal one or two new signings.”

And added: “We’re getting emails from individuals we’ve not even seen play. Players are advertising themselves through different agencies.

“That’s fine, it works, so we’re not dismissing everyone. We’re making no promises to the people we’ve not seen play.

“But one or two have decent pedigree so we’ve invited them to pre-season.”

With loan players making up the squad last season, Hoole and his team have a sizable job on their hands to keep those players who played so well for them in the final nine games of last season and recruit others.

“We had quite a few loan players at the end of last season and they’ve gone back to their parent clubs,” he said.

“We’re grateful they were loaned out to us.

“But it has left personnel a little bit light. It’s one of the reasons we’ve not put a retained list out - we’re trying to retain most of the players.

“We turned a massive corner in the last nine games, starting turning heads in the league and leagues above, and players have put themselves on the market.

“It’s a great thing for the individual but not so much for me and Shaun because a lot of our players have had interest from a lot of clubs - some higher as well.”