Matlock Town boss Dave Hoole says his side are ready for the challenge as they step up their pre season programme.
The Gladiators face three games in four days including two attractive home matches as Gresley arrive on Saturday followed by Chesterfield and Burton Albion on Monday and Tuesday night.
It looks a tough ask for Town’s part-time players whose fitness levels will be severely tested, but boss Dave Hoole says his squad are looking forward to the different challenges of playing a non-league side to professional sides will bring.
“No disrespect at all to Gresley but it’s a good time to play them,” Hoole said with Matlock expected to enjoy a greater share of the possession than they did in last Thursday’s 4-1 home defeat by Derby County under 23’s.
“It’ll be a benchmark of where we are, I have my views of where we should be at this point of time and the game on Saturday should show us where we are.
“Then we play Chesterfield and Burton and against the pro-sides fitness is a massive thing because the pro -sides are training every day and that showed especially against Derby.
“Our fitness should be getting there as time goes on, against the pro sides it’s what you do without the ball that’s important.”
Kieren Watson opened his account in a Matlock shirt following his summer move from Shirebrook Town after hitting 52 goals for the Toolstation NCEL First Division outfit last season.
He gave Town a 5th minute lead and with a little good fortune he could have added to his tally.
“It was a typical game of two halves, we again had to look at trialists in a big game situation,” Hoole added.
“I was really pleased with the way we played in the first half and the way we put ourselves about against a good Derby side.
“Our football this season will be attacking with pace and flair and we played well enough to have gone in at half time with a different scoreline rather than being 2-1 down.
“We made the changes in the second half and the continuity wasn’t there but the pre season games are there to look at people, it’s a necessity.”
The Matlock squad spent Saturday morning training at St Georges Park and Hoole says it was an enjoyable experience.
“Some of our players have already been there, it’s always a pleasure to use such fantastic facilities, the pitches are amazing, there’s no unfortunate bobbles there,” he said.
“We spent three or four hours there training first and then looking around and having a bite to eat, it was a really good bonding exercise and it also gave the younger lads a taste of what they could expect should they continue to improve and develop.”
Hoole is hoping to announce two further additions to his squad before the weekend.