New manager Steve Kittrick says he is fired up for the challenge ahead as he aims to revive the fortunes of Matlock Town.
Pre-season training is under way at Matlock, with Kittrick itching to get stuck into his job, ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, which kicks off on Saturday, August 17.
“I’m really look forward to getting back into it,” he sad. “It is a new challenge, but one that I am really excited about.”
The vastly experienced Kittrick, 61, has been charged with resurrecting the Gladiators after a disappointing 2018/19 season under Dave Frecklington when they finished 15th in the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, only four points above third from bottom.
He made an immediate impact when he was appointed, recruiting four new signings in striker Luke Hinsley, winger Piteu Crouz, full-back Ben Gordon and midfielder Luke Dean, and he added a fifth new face last month in defender Jordon Cooke.
Now, he says he is in talks with three more potential additions to his squad. Kittrick said: “I am talking to a goalkeeper, central midfielder and a striker, and we have a couple of triallists involved with us too.
“We’re not far off the squad I want. We have a couple of positions to sort out, but we’re at the point in the transfer market where the silly money stuff has been done.”
The former Scarborough Athletic and Guiseley boss says he is happy with how pre-season training has gone so far and is looking forward to the first friendly at home to Burton Albion on Saturday, July 13 (kick-off 3 pm).
That will be followed by two more games at the Proctor Cars Stadium against professional opposition in Chesterfield on Tuesday, July 16 (7.30 pm) and Sheffield United on Tuesday, July 30 (7.30 pm).
Four away friendlies are against Frickley on Saturday, July 20, Worksop Town on Saturday, July 27, Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday, August 3 and Lincoln United on Saturday, August 10.
Kittrick added: “The games against the pro clubs bring in revenue for the club by getting bums on seats. Burton, Chesterfield and Sheffield United are three really good clubs coming here.
“Pre-season is all about being ready and firing on August 17. Timing is a big factor in your preparations.
“There are five or six weeks before we kick a ball in anger, and we don’t want to pick up any injuries.
“The players tend to be fit when they come back for training these days. The drinking culture has gone, and it’s all about who has the biggest arms and looks the best!
“Match practice is key, and I think we have got our schedule just about right.”
Kittrick also stressed that Matlock’s results in pre-season friendlies would not the be-all and end-all.
“It’s not just about results,” he said. “Ifr you can get wins pre-season, then all well and good.
“But don’t forget this is a brand new team, so I’m more bothered about things like how people react if we go 3-1 down. The positive side looks after itself.”