Joined: 13 Oct 2005
|Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:31 pm Post subject: Weekly News 21.07.06
|Matlock Town were dealt a second major injury blow before a ball was kicked with stylish midfielder Ian Clarke likely to miss a huge chunk of the season with cruciate ligament damage.
Lightening seems to have struck twice for the Gladiators and their joint management team of Phil Brown and Gareth Williams for the Clarke bombshell comes hot on the heels of last season's leading scorer Dene Cropper being diagnosed with the same complaint, and he himself also facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Clarke was carried off after scoring Matlock's first two goals in the 3-1 home win over Prescot Cables in April, and like Cropper, the hope was that the injury would respond to rest and treatment in the summer months.
But last weekend came the news that Clarke, Williams, Brown and Matlock fans were all dreading, and now Matlock embark on the 2006/07 UniBond League Premier Division season without their two top scorers from last term. Cropper hit eighteen goals while Clarke found the net thirteen times, including nine successful spot kicks.
"This is a massive blow, particularly as we've already lost Dene Cropper for a large part of the season" admitted Brown. "Clarkie's an important player for us who gets his fair share of goals from midfield. His knee keeps giving way on him and like Cropps he'll need an operation. We were hoping it was just cartilage or ligament damage but at the back of our minds we feared the worst and so it's proved."
Brown believes there is a strong need to strengthen the Gladiators squad, particularly now in the wake of the serious injuries to Cropper and Clarke. Strikers Jason Bedward (Rainworth) and Lee Whittingham (Rotherham) were given run outs in the second half of Monday night's 3-0 home defeat by Chesterfield in the annual Banner Jones Middleton Cup contest, and both could also feature in Saturday's visit to Rainworth for the Gladiators' second pre season friendly.
Midfield is an area where Matlock appeared to have plenty of cover, but Brown is keen to strengthen this area as well as the central defensive and striking positions.
"We need to add to our numbers for with the rush of games at the start of the season we'll need cover" he warned."We'll probably be looking to add three maybe four extra players to our squad. We're going out looking at games, spending hours on the phone and working hard to this end."
Brown was pleased with the showing against Chesterfield, feeling the Spireites full time training proved decisive in the end.
""We're very pleased for it was a very good performance by our lads" Brown said. "We did really well for an hour but their full time fitness won the day. As we tired towards the end, their quality told. it was very hot out there but we defended well and we were pleased with the workrate and the way we kept our shape.The last half hour or so we were hanging on for fitness, but some lads have got a full ninety minutes under their belts and others have had a good sixty. We're looking for another centre halff but Ryan Davis was outstanding there and proved that he can do a job there for us if required."
A bonus for Matlock was the healthy 1437 attendance and the income derived from it in terms of gate money and spin offs such as refreshment and bar sales.
"It was a great night and we hope everyone enjoyed themselves and will want to come again" said Matlock Vice Chairman Tom Wright.
Matlock wore their new kit sponsored by the RLP Partnership with the Matlock Spa logo emblazoned on it for the first time against Chesterfield and the design, as well as that of the lime green and navy away strip seems to have caught on with the fans, with a flood of orders for the replica shirts being taken at the club shop. The shirts are priced at £37 for adults and £28 for juniors with members of the Matlock Town Supporters Club being eligible for a £2 discount in either age group.
Meanwhile the Gladiators have pegged season ticket prices with an adult ticket again costing £108, but if bought before August 11, the price will be £96.Children and Derbyshire County Council Gold Card holders will pay £72 with an £8 reduction if purchased before 11 August. Ground admission will be £7 for adults and £4-50 for children and concessions but accompanied children can again watch all league matches for just £2.
Vice Chairman Tom Wright said "We feel that the season ticket price is a reward to our magnificent supporters for their loyalty. By purchasing a season ticket at the reduced rate, there's an overall saving of £51 which equates to seven free games.The £7 admission fee is also good value and is in line with other clubs and we're still one of the cheapest in the UniBond League. Some clubs last season were charging more."
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