Ben Algar will miss Matlock Town’s challenge for glory on two fronts as he jets out to America at the start of March.
While the Gladiators bidding for promotion to Blue Square North via the play-offs and also aiming to lift the League Cup, a 5-0 mauling of Stocksbridge in their own back yard, earning Matlock a semi-final slot, Algar will be joining FC New York in the USL Premier Division, the third tier of the American soccer pyramid.
Matlock manager Mark Atkins said it was too good an opportunity for the former Chesterfield winger to turn down.
Atkins said: “Ben had a trial out there a few weeks ago and has been offered a playing contract.
“He’s disappointed he’s having to leave us but it’s a full-time contract and while we’re sorry to see him go, we’re all very pleased for the lad. It’s not as if he won’t be playing for Matlock anymore. The season out there lasts from March until September so I’m sure he’ll be back with Matlock during the winter months.”
Algar flies out to the States at the beginning of March so his last Matlock appearance this season looks like being in the match at Marine on Saturday week.
Meanwhile, mid-table Nantwich Town visit the Reynolds Stadium on Saturday before Tuesday when the Gladiators have a huge promotion clash at second- placed Colwyn Bay.
Matlock cemented their current third placed standing with an excellent 3-1 win at home to Kendal thanks to a Ross Hannah brace and a single from Liam King.
Hannah then bagged a hat-trick against his old club at Stocksbridge with Nathan Joynes and Adam Yates the other Town marksmen in the League Cup success.
Hannah now has an amazing 39 goals in league and cup and while he has earned star rating in both of these victories, it has been magnificent all round team displays which have caught the fans’ eyes.
Atkins was drooling about the result and performance at Stocksbridge, as Matlock gained ample revenge for a controversial 3-1 defeat in the league at the Look Local Stadium just three weeks earlier.
He said: “Fantastic, excellent. We bossed the game from the first to the last whistle, some of our play and the goals we scored were absolutely fantastic.”
Circumstances mean that Atkins may have some tough choices to make ahead of the forthcoming two vital games. But it looks as if his assistant boss Nick Buxton will remain in goal even if Adam Sollitt recovers from back trouble that hit him on the eve of the Kendal win.
“Adam trained well last Thursday but then phoned me at 1pm on Friday to tell me that he’d got a bad back and could hardly move. I made some phone calls and we were set to sign a goalkeeper on Friday night but he went to a club in a higher division. Nick came in and did very well in both games. He himself has had a back problem and he’s been taking painkillers to play. If Nick’s fit he’ll be in again on Saturday for we have a policy at this club that if you get in and do well you stay in whoever you are. It doesn’t matter that Nick is the assistant manager.”