Search on for new keeper

A new goalkeeper is high on Matlock Town’s shopping list after regular custodian Adam Sollitt has said that increased work commitments mean he cannot devote the time needed to perform at Evo-Stik Premier Division level.

Trialist Dan Whatsize, who was with Sheffield FC in the division below last season, wore the green jersey as the Gladiators needed a late Lee Whittington leveller to draw 1-1 at Teversal in their opening pre-season friendly last Saturday.

A former Chesterfield FC trainee who was released after a short-term professional contract, Whatsize was praised by Matlock manager Mark Atkins.

He said that the keeper did well enough at Teversal to earn another go at the job but he is also looking at other options.

Atkins said: “Adam’s said that with his new job he can’t commit the time to football and the club that he used to, so we’re on the look out for a new keeper.

“Ironically, Dan Whatsize rang me on Thursday to see if I knew anyone who wanted a new keeper and I said we’re looking for one and told him to come along on Saturday. He did okay. It’s disappointing to lose Adam though but his family has to come first. He was a great goalkeeper for us and a cracking lad to have in the changing room.”

Atkins described the Teversal game as a “good fitness exercise.”

He said: “For four sessions we’d hardly touched a ball as we were concentrating on getting the lads’ fitness levels up. We had about an hour of ball work last Thursday. I was very pleased with the fitness levels but we didn’t keep the ball well enough. That though will come.”

After visiting Armthorpe on Tuesday Matlock welcome Football League opposition to the Reynolds Stadium in the shape of Bradford City on Friday and Chesterfield on Tuesday.

The Bradford visit will see the return of their former talisman striker Ross Hannah who joined the Bantams in the summer.

Atkins said: “It should be a good night and fans will have the chance to say goodbye and thank you to Ross who was a fantastic player for us.

“It’s good to have a couple of games like Teversal and Armthorpe where fitness levels are the main objective then it’s good to play in the games against the full-time clubs, they’re games to be enjoyed.”

Atkins says he is striving to strengthen the squad in two or three positions having spoken to three players since he returned from holiday on Thursday.

Meanwhile, captain James Lukic will take on the role as player coach this term.

The manager said: “James has told me he wants to get into coaching eventually and by doing this we can help bring him along on the coaching side.

“He’s been a terrific servant to the club and we feel it’s only right to give him this opportunity.”