Atkins bid to boost his squad

A busy Mark Atkins is trying to strengthen his Matlock squad which has 18 league games and at least one, hopefully more, League Cup ties to play before the season’s end.

In a bid to find support in the scoring department for goal machine Ross Hannah, the Matlock boss has brought in striker Anthony Wilson on a month’s loan from Blue Square North neighbours Alfreton Town.

And Wilson made a scoring debut, netting Matlock’s final goal in the 3-0 League Cup win over Barwell on Tuesday night. Other goals were scored by star man Liam King and Hannah.

The fact that Hannah and Wilson are old pals, having forged a prolific partnership at Belper Town three seasons ago, was probably a factor in Atkins pursuit of the tall bustling hit man.

He said: “Over the past two months we’ve had three centre forwards and although they’ve all worked tremendously hard, they’ve not hit it off in terms of scoring goals.

“We needed another potent goalscorer alongside Ross. I tried to bring Anthony in three weeks ago but couldn’t. I heard that he had become available last Thursday. Two other clubs were in for him, but he’s decided to come to Matlock and we’re delighted. It’d be great if he could get his partnership back with Ross as it was before at Belper.’’

Wilson joins winger James Naylor who is at the Reynolds Stadium on a dual signature basis with his parent club Harrogate Town. Atkins hinted that there might be more additions to the ranks, possibly before the weekend’s trip to foot of the table Retford United.

Atkins was not too upset that last Saturday’s scheduled visit to Colwyn Bay was frozen off, even though his players now face an awkward midweek trip to the North Wales coast.

“We’ve had a tough few weeks so I wasn’t too disappointed when we heard the game was off, for it gave us a chance to regroup. We had 14 players available on Saturday, and four or five of those were carrying knocks.’’

Retford, yet to win at home this season, present the third-placed Gladiators with the proverbial banana skin. It is a game Matlock must win to reignite their challenge for the play-offs.