Lewis King has big boots to fill as Matlock Town’s next goalkeeper following last season’s fans’ player of the year Jon Kennedy’s move to Worksop Town.
But manager Mark Hume is “more than happy” with his new number one.
King, 21, signed for the Gladiators last week, and like his predecessor Kennedy, enjoyed a spell at Sunderland, having begun his career at hometown club Derby County.
The Spondon-based keeper, standing at 6’4” was at Stalybridge Celtic last season after previously serving Stockport County, Eastwood Town and Boston United.
Hume said: “Lewis is a very good goalkeeper who has a presence and kicks well.
“He says he can’t wait to get started here in spite of offers from higher league clubs but he just wants the chance to play regularly rather than being a number two and we’re delighted to have him with us.”
Hume wants to make further additions to his squad ahead of Saturday week’s big kick off.
He has put seven days notice in for a defender and hopes to bring in another back four player - but admitted finding another striker is proving to be troublesome.
“I know we need a striker but, as I said before, I’m not prepared to bring just anyone in,” said Hume.
“Ted (Cribley) and Niall (McManus) are well capable of playing there and with the lads we have coming through who will get better and better, we’ll be all right.
“We won’t have a big squad in terms of numbers but we’ll have a flexible one.”
While two defenders would bolster his ranks at the other end of the pitch following Muhammed Sabo’s departure to Shaw Lane Aquaforce, who Matlock visit in their final pre season friendly on Saturday.
“Muhammed would have been away for the first two or three matches and he’s also joining the army later in the season, so I didn’t give him too many minutes in the pre season games,” said Hume.
“Shaw Lane came in and have obviously given him a favorable deal, so good luck to the lad who leaves with our best wishes having done well for us last season.”
Matlock’s latest warm up match at Ossett Albion ended in a 1-0 defeat last weekend but Hume insists he is not concerned with the scoreline.
“I knew we’d probably be scratching for a side and it certainly wasn’t the side I’d liked to have put out with our two regular full backs playing in central defence because we hadn’t got any central defenders available,” he said.
“Some of our lads work in schools or are in education meaning they have to take their holidays now. Pre-season doesn’t really interest me, it’s about fitness more than anything.
“Once the season starts I can wheel and deal and bring in loan signings, I can’t do that in pre-season. Judge us when the season starts, we came a long way last season but I’ll emphasise there’s still plenty of work to do.
He added: “It’ll be a much tougher league than last season.”