Gladiators sign striker TJ

On-trial striker Tyeisse Nightingale signed for Matlock Town at the weekend and now manager Mark Atkins feels he has competition throughout his squad.

Nottingham-based Nightingale, who was with Hucknall Town last season and has also had spells with both Alfreton Town and Eastwood Town, contacted Atkins after originally taking time to mull over the offer from the Gladiators.

Atkins said: “After the Alfreton game I’d seen enough to want to offer Tyeisse a deal.

“He contacted me on Friday and said he’d love to sign for us so he’s a very good addition to the squad.

“He’s a goalscorer so we now have the four forwards we wanted. We’ve got good competition throughout the squad.”

Nightingale, known as TJ, scored three times in Matlock’s pre-season campaign and has already won over the hearts of the Matlock supporters.

He opened the scoring in the 3-2 win against a Derby XI before going off with a foot injury.

After the Alfreton game which saw the Gladiators lose to a late Chris Senior goal, Nightingale scored twice in the 5-0 thrashing of Belper Town on Saturday.

Other scorers were Chris Bettney (pen), Steve Warne, and Gareth Davies.

Now Atkins has to decide who his front two are for Saturday’s league opener at Ashton United.

Ian Holmes will be back from holiday and Nathan Joynes has recovered from his hamstring strain. Lee Whittington has also impressed with four goals in the warm-up matches.

Atkins has also moved to put goalkeeper Jon Kennedy on contract. Signed from Worksop in the summer, Kennedy has turned in a string of excellent performances.

The nap hand at Belper should do much to bolster confidence ahead of what Atkins expects to be a tough campaign.

Atkins should have virtually a full squad to select a starting XI from, with the exception of Kris Bowler who misses the opening two matches following his red card at Buxton in the final game of last season.