Matlock FC lines up tough pre-season home matches

Pictured is Matlock Town FC manager Mark Atkins.
Pictured is Matlock Town FC manager Mark Atkins.

Matlock Town FC boss Mark Atkins’ desire for more home pre-season friendlies has been satisfied as the Gladiators announced their sixth warm-up game at the Autoworld Arena.

Conference Premier side Grimsby Town come to Matlock on Friday, July 18, which should see the return of a former Gladiators’ hero.

Ross Hannah, who became Matlock’s record goalscorer in a single season when he hit 52 league and cup goals in 2010/11 prior to moving to Bradford, should lead the Mariners’ attack. His return should see a healthy crowd turn up for the game for he is one of Matlock’s most popular players in modern times.

Grimsby are the latest full-time outfit to visit the Autoworld with the other five coming from the Football League.

Matlock’s home pre-season programme is impressive with Derby County, Chesterfield, Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Mansfield Town on parade in the Derbyshire Dales.

Atkins said: “Previously, we’ve had a lot of away matches in pre-season and I was keen to change that so we could have a better standard of opposition to play. I think we’ve certainly got that, through the various contacts we’ve got at the club we’ve got some very good games, ones that our fans should enjoy.

“The latest one we’ve managed to fix with Grimsby is obviously a great one to have, particularly with Ross potentially playing against us.”

Matlock’s squad, plus any potential additions, is back training on June 24, nine days ahead of the opening pre-season outing against Derby County, on July 3. Atkins is keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of the new Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division campaign which starts on August 16. The Matlock boss sympathised with the plight of Worksop Town after resigning from the Evo-Stik League and having their request to rescind their resignation rejected by the League. They will play in the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division next season.

He added: “We wish them the best and hope they’ll be back at our level again.”