It’s been one in, one out and one retained for Matlock Town this week as the Gladiators continue to shape their squad for the 2019/20 Evo-Stik NPL Premier season.
Highly-regarded goalkeeper Ross Durrant’s has re-signed for another season following an impressive first season at Causeway Lane since his September move from Alfreton Town.
While defender Jordon Cooke became Matlock boss Steve Kittrick’s fifth new signing of the summer when he put pen to paper on a deal to join the Gladiators from Stamford.
Travelling in the opposite direction out of the club, was defender Bradley Beatson, who signed for Evo-Stik NPL South/East side Sheffield FC on Tuesday evening.
Kittrick wished Beatson well at his new club and was pleased to get the other two pieces of business sorted - and hinted at a further five or six players yet to arrive this summer.
“Jordon’s a quality player, who has played in the Conference,” said Kittrick. “He’s a big, strong lad, he’s athletic and can play anywhere down the right-hand side or centre-half.
“I like players who can do a couple of jobs, not just one, and he’ll be a quality addition to the squad. It ticks the boxes. He’s played at a good level, he’s over six-foot tall and got good feet, and when I met him he’s my sort of player.
“He fits the profile I want perfectly.”
A product of the Nottingham Forest academy, 23-year-old Durrant won two player of the month awards last season, in November and January.
He joins Dwayne Wiley, Marcus Marshall and Adam Yates in those players from last season to commit to the Gladiators again.
Kittrick said: “His pedigree speaks for itself. I said to him ‘prove to me you want to be our number one keeper’.
“All the lads I’ve spoken to from last year, we’ve had the same conversation. We’ve got to buy into each other.”
Kittrick has already brought Luke Hinsley (Frickley AFC), Piteu Crouz (Belper Town), Ben Gordon (Gainsborough Trinity) and Luke Dean (Scarborough Athletic) into the club.
And he has targeted more.
“We’ve got to get another five or six in, which we will do, and we’ve got to be patient,” he said.
“This time of the season is a money-fest, players try to get as much money as they can, and some teams jump early.
“In my experience you can pay over the odds for people.
“I’m sure when it settles down and teams at higher levels have spent their budgets players start to filter down and it becomes a lot more sensible.
“I’m trying to entice players down from a higher level.”
And added: “You do take a chance on a couple of people. I’ve got to take the chance on the players that I know of and I know will do me a good job. I need players who are going to play me 80-90 per cent of the season if they’re fit.
“I look at how many games players have played in the last year because that’s a massive indication for me. That’s how I look at it. They’ve got to fit into what I want.
“It’s not just the ability on the pitch, it’s how they behave off the pitch and their personalities. We’re building a team together.
“It’s not a team of individuals.
“My dressing room has historically been very good and it takes different characters to blend in to a team.”