Matlock Town academy products sign for Maltese club Lija Athletic

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Former Matlock Town youngsters Harry Wood and Jordan Wells have signed for Maltese First Division club Lija Athletic.

The pair left the Gladiators at the end of last season and had been on trial with the Maltese second division outfit for a four-week period during pre-season.

Having impressed Lija manager Colin Ciantar during their trials the Derbyshire-born duo both signed two-year deals last week.

Speaking to the club’s Facebook page, Wood said: “I’m delighted to have signed a two-year professional contract for Lija Athletic.

“It’s a great set-up, with superb coaching staff and a squad that really wants to achieve promotion to the (Maltese) Premier League.”

Wood’s sentiments were echoed by Wells, who added: “I just want to say a massive thank you to Lija Athletic for believing in me and giving me this great opportunity.”

Both Wood and Wells spent three years in the Gladiators’ youth system and sporadically featured for the first team towards the end of last season.

The 19-year-old left-back and central midfielder were an instrumental part in Town’s academy achieving a history-making back-to-back victory in the Blackpool Cup in 2016 and 2017.

Justin Tellus, Matlock’s ex-development manager who was at the club over the same period as Wood and Wells, said: “They both always had great potential to make the grade throughout the three years I worked with them. It’s a huge achievement to gain a professional contract, especially abroad.

“They suit the style of football in Southern Europe as it’s technical, and they both really excel in that area of the game.

“The hard work for them starts now, but it will be a fantastic experience for them both and I hope they inspire more young players to work hard and follow their dreams.”