Praise for full-back Turner

2011 has seen the emergence of a bright young talent at Matlock Town as 18-year-old full-back Ben Turner has stepped up to the plate.

Turner was a team mate of fellow Gladiator James Knowles at League Two club Burton Albion before both were released by the Brewers last summer.

Although Turner had to be patient before getting his chance, he quickly made his mark with a string of impressive displays which delighted both his manager Mark Atkins and the Reynolds Arena fans.

Atkins said: “He’s done very well for us. He asked us for a trial in the pre-season and did the rounds at a few other clubs but came back.

“He had to bide his time to get in but that chance came when we had the long term injury to Mark Haran.

“We thought the time was right to involve the lad and he’s been excellent.

“He’s very quick but we needed him to get physically stronger which to be fair he’s done that in the last four or five games of the season.

“He’s still a young lad in a hard physical league but he’s come on leaps and bounds.”

If there was an award for Young Player of the Year at the club’s Presentation Night which takes place in the new Matlock Town Social Club on Friday night, then Turner would be a strong candidate.

As it is goalscoring machine Ross Hannah, who made a clean sweep of the three major awards of Fans Player, Players’ Player and leading goalscorer, could repeat the hat-trick this term.

He will certainly retain the Steven Greenhough Goalscorer Award, his record breaking 52 goals also earning him the Evo-Stik Premier Division Golden Boot for a second successive campaign.

Hannah is due to collect the prestigious League award at the Evo-Stik Presentation Evening at Blackpool on June 18.

Giant striker John McAliskey has returned to Northwich Victoria after his six weeks loan spell at the end of last season expired.

Atkins has told McAliskey and defender Paul Sykes that they are welcome to return to Matlock to fight for a place should they not get fixed up with another club.

Meanwhile, the composition of the Evo-Stik Premier Division became a little clearer over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Colwyn Bay gained promotion to the Blue Square North after defeating FC United of Manchester 1-0 in the play-off final in North Wales on Monday.

With FC United staying down and Chester coming up as champions of the First Division North, the Gladiators and the rest of the division are guaranteed at least two huge gates in the 2011/2012 campaign.

Who comes up with Chester from the Northern Section is still to be decided with Chorley hosting AFC Fylde in the play-off final tomorrow night (Friday).

AFC Fylde should include former Matlock forward Tom Cahill in their line up at Victory Park. The two promoted clubs from First Division South are already known.

Barwell, beaten 3-0 at the Reynolds Stadium in the League Cup in February are the champions while Walsall-based Rushall Olympic beat Grantham Town 2-0 in the play-off final.

Old adversaries Stafford Rangers could also be back at Matlock in league action after a 25-year absence, although they did visit Causeway Lane in an FA cup replay in 1999/2000 which they won 4-0.

Managed by former Leicester City and Scotland central defender Matt Elliott, Rangers finished second-bottom of Blue Square North and a return to the Northern Premier, now Evo-Stik League looks to be odds-on.

Even with last season barely over, preparations are being made for the new season and a home pre-season visit from Nigel Clough’s Derby County has been set for Monday, July 25.