Atkins signs seven

Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins used last Thursday’s internal trial game at the Reynolds Stadium to run the rule over potential new signings, and ended up with seven more players signing on the dotted line.

With the new Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division’s big kick-off now just over a couple of weeks away, Atkins says he does not want to be left struggling to name a full squad as he was on some occasions last season.

The most noteable ‘newcomer’ is Ben Algar, back home after a spell in New York with Matlock officials now completing the necessary paperwork relating to international clearance for the former Chesterfield FC winger.

Striker Lee Whittington, a scorer against Matlock in the past for the likes of Hednesford Town, Hucknall Town and last season Retford United is joined by full-back Will Kendall, recently released by Sheffield Wednesday.

And Ben Hunter, who had a rather longer spell than Algar playing in the United States, is another recruit who played the final 28 minutes of the 3-2 win against Derby County, operating on the left side of midfield.

Atkins has also shown his commitment to progressing the careers of the Gladiators U19s as James Travis, Sam Rhodes and Connor Dean have all signed first-team forms.

But adding to the striking department is still Atkins’ top priority. He gave Tyeisse (TJ) Nightingale a trial against Derby with the former Hucknall, Alfreton and Eastwood striker heading home the opening goal and giving the Rams the runaround before an ankle injury forced him off.

Nightingale went home on crutches and Atkins intends to see him again, hopefully in the home friendly with Alfreton Town on Wednesday night, if Nightingale has recovered in time.

The Town boss enjoyed the performance and the result against Derby.

The other goals came from James Lukic and Whittington.

Matlock head to the bright Finance Stadium in Dronfield tonight (Thursday) to take on the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield FC, who are managed by former Matlock midfielder Mark Shaw.

All except Holmes will be back in contention for the Alfreton game as Atkins will look to field pretty much his preferred line up against the Reds and in the final friendly at Belper on Saturday week.