Matlock Town Development Squad will compete in the inaugural ‘Battle of the Young Gladiators’, where the club’s under-17 and under-18 teams will meet on Tuesday, 19th February, 1pm kick off, at the University of Derby’s Kedelston Road campus sports centre.
With both teams currently top of their respective divisions, development manager Justin Tellus explained what the match will mean to the youngsters.
“The game will be a tremendous occasion with all the talent of Matlock Town’s development sides showcased on one pitch,” he said. “Every single player recognises this unique opportunity and, given the form of each team, are especially keen to get one over their clubmates.”
Tellus also spoke about the club’s symbiotic relationship with the university and highlighted its importance.
“Students from the university play a vital role in what we are trying to achieve, whether that be from the journalism or sports science departments,” he said. “Similarly, we know that the education provided to the lads here at Matlock Town serves them appropriately for the future and provides an opportunity for higher education.”
The Gladiators’ current success is a repetition of glory which has seen the youth teams win seven major titles in just three years, including winning a trio of Northern Premier League titles in succession. The young Gladiators have also participated in China where they returned home as bronze medallists.
Such achievement has seen Max Hunt and Zak Brunt signed by Championship sides Derby County and Sheffield United, with Hunt’s departure the first time that Matlock received a transfer fee in their 140-year history.
Embedded within the community, Matlock Town have established a recognised youth development system for players outside the professional game, offering male school leavers aged between 16-18 years a second chance in a semi-professional environment.