Matlock announce busy pre-season

Matlock Town update, by Ian Richardson

The usual busy pre season friendly programme awaits Matlock Town's playing staff when they return after the summer break on June 28.

Manager Mark Atkins expects them to have maintained a decent level of fitness during their time away from the Reynolds Stadium as a tough training schedule will greet them ahead of their opening friendly on July 17.

"The lads who have been with us before know how difficult pre season is because you don't have a lot of time with them, possibly two or three sessions a week. So we expect them to remain fit to make things easier for them and for us as a higher level of fitness allows us to do more work with the ball. All non league players have to work hard to get their fitness levels up to speed" said Atkins.

That opening friendly is at Northern Counties East League First Division outfit Teversal before four days later a trip to Tevie's local and divisional rivals Shirebrook Town follows on Saturday July 21.

All of Matlock's away friendlies to date are in Nottinghamshire as they also play Evo-Stik First Division South clubs Hucknall Town on Saturday July 28 and Rainworth Miners Welfare on Saturday August 11.

At present three Football League sides will be at the Reynolds Stadium with Matlock officials trying to arrange at least one further test against a full time club.

The Annual Banner Jones Cup meeting with Chesterfield takes place on Tuesday July 24, a fixture that is hugely popular with supporters of both clubs which almost always has attracted a four figure crowd. The Spireites arrive as Johnston Paints Trophy holdes after a 2-0 win in the final against Swindon Town at Wembley in March, but will also be concentrating this coming season on an instant return to League One after being relegated after just one season in the division in May.

Sheffield United will make a welcome return after a break of five years on Wednesday August 8. Whether they are in League One or the Championship depends on this weekend's League One play off final with Huddersfield Town at Wembley. The Blades visit rekindles memories of when former boss Neil Warnock brought a full strength side to Matlock in July 2004. A Danny Holland hat-trick plus a last minute Rocky White winner saw the Gladiators pull off a shock 4-3 victory.

Nigel Clough brings a Derby County eleven to Matlock on Wednesday August 15, just three days before both the Rams' Championship campaign, and Matlock's Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division season kicks off on Saturday August 18.

Where next?

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