Matlock Town boss casting player search far and wide
Matlock boss Paul Phillips says he is casting his net out far and wide for his 2020/21 playing squad as he looks to improve on bottom half finishes in recent seasons.
Phillips, based on the outskirts of Manchester, is the first manager Matlock have employed from this area.
Previous incumbent Steve Kittrick was from Barnsley and before that Dave Frecklington lived in Lincoln following Dave Hoole and before that joint bosses Craig Hopkins and Glenn Kirkwood who were all Chesterfield based.
“I’m casting the net out far and wide, obviously we have the link with Denton up here in Manchester and the local one with Wirksworth Ivanhoe in the Matlock area,” he said.
“But the bottom line is that I want a pool of players to improve us and get us out of this league, whether they be from Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester or wherever.
“So yes we’ll be fishing in a different pond to those of before, there’s a lot of places we can tap into within a one hour radius.”
With the Covid-19 restrictions slowly being eased, Phillips is itching to get started again, but in that impatience there is frustration.
“Normally we’d be about four weeks away from starting pre-season but nobody knows when we can return to playing in non league, so it’s a matter of being careful and trying to get the timing right,” he added.
“It could be say October before the league gets under way for example, so while we want to be up and ready and raring to go, we’ve got to ensure all the timings are right so people aren’t burned out before the season begins.
“Let’s face it everyone wants things to get back to normality, players want to be back training and playing again, fans want football games to watch.”
With some clubs announcing signings, Phillips reassured Gladiators fans that plenty of hard work is going on in terms of player recruitment for next season.
He added: “I don’t think it’s wise clubs announcing signings just yet as they can’t be ratified by the authorities and at present nobody knows when the season is to start so how can contracts be drawn up?
“We’ve been doing our work and have provisionally agreed terms with some players but we’re keeping everything close to our chests for now.”
With Matlock scoring only 36 goals in their 28 league games of a truncated 2019/20 season, it is easy to see where Phillips’ recruitment priority lies.
“We need to improve our goalscoring record,” he said. “We need scorers and people who can create so the forward line is an important area for us.
“We’re going to bring people in but it’s also hard to let people go as nobody knows what’s happening.
“How can wages be offered and promised when for all we know, games could take place behind closed doors or it could be a long while before we actually get going?
“I’m asking for the fans to be patient, but I believe there’ll be a fair bit activity in the next week or two.”
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