Assistant boss Luke Potter admits Matlock Town are not yet the finished article but he remains pleased with how his and boss Steve Kittrick’s first pre season with the Gladiators has progressed.
The last week has seen the frustration of the heavy rain on Saturday putting off their scheduled game at Worksop Town before on Tuesday night, a strong Sheffield United side won 3-0 at the Proctor Cars Stadium.
Looking ahead to Matlock’s final two friendlies at Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday and at Lincoln United a week later, Potter says that players will have to make the most of chances that come their way.
Matlock Town 0 Sheffield United 3
“We have the base of the side but there’s still a few positions up for grab,s” he insisted.
“A few have proven themselves and there’s a few who’ve yet to stake a claim. We’re still a few bodies short. We’re short in the striking area, it’s not necessarily an out and out number nine, we’re in with a number of clubs for a wide player who can also play as a centre forward.
"We’ve games with Loughborough and Lincoln United, we’ve got to keep on working hard.
"There’s two weeks to go and all our thoughts in the pre season games and in our preparatory training are geared up to that first fixture.Things though are building nicely.”
The Worksop match was called off 50 minutes before the scheduled 3pm kick off after heavy rain which had affected both of the goalmouths. Both teams used the centre of the pitch for training.
“It wasn’t what we wanted but at least we got something from the afternoon,” said Potte,r who added that he was pleased with what he saw in the defeat to a Sheffield United side who had among others, Leon Clarke, Mark Duffy ,Richard Stearman and Ravell Morrison on from the start and then replaced Morrison with record buy Lys Mousset in the second half.
“Overall it was really good although we showed Sheffield too much respect in the first fifteen or twenty minutes" he said. "They had several players in the side who’d won promotion to the Premier League last season. You could see why they’d been successful by the way they rotated and found space.
"They’re a very good side and it was a learning curve for us, we won’t face sides of that quality. Once we settled we did okay and at half time we spoke about keeping the centre of the pitch solid and the need to keep our shape better.
"I thought we did that, we did much better although I thought we’d done quite well in the first half. It was a matter of us getting the basics right.”
The Sheffield United match attracted a 1116 crowd which given the wet evening, was a great turnout by Matlock and Blades supporters.
“We’d like to thank Sheffield United and Chris Wilder for all of their help and for sending a strong squad here for the game,” said Matlock Chairman Tom Wright.
“It was a fantastic attendance given the weather, I’d like to thank everyone for their support and I hope everyone who came enjoyed the evening.”
There was a special presentation at half time to Wilder as Commonwealth boxing champion Tommy Frank presented Wilder with a bottle of champagne from Matlock Town to congratulate him and the United squad on their promotion to the Premier League. Frank was at the game with Matlock President Dennis Hobson who organises boxing events as part of his work.
“We’ve had a fantastic relationship with Sheffield United over the years and we’re all delighted with their success last season in winning promotion to the Premier League. We wish them all the very best for the season ahead” Wright added.