Atkins pays tribute to winners

Matlock Town update, by Ian Richardson

Matlock manager Mark Atkins missed the club's presentation evening but this week paid tribute to the award winners.

Captain James Lukic has become part of Atkins' backroom staff as player coach and Atkins commended Lukic for his contribution both on and off the field.

"James has had a fantastic season and has held the back four together brilliantly. he's also been great in his first season as player coach, taking a prominent role in training and the pre match warm ups which will give him valuable experience when he eventually stops playing. But he's still got plenty of talent and time to play many more games at this level."

Atkins added that Lukic could also have been a strong candidate for the players' award, which went to goalkeeper Jon Kennedy.

"It would have been hard for the lads to choose between them but Kendo got the award which is really no surprise because he's very well liked. He's been an excellent signing for us. I'm pleased that Micky Harcourt got the young player, he's stepped up a level this last season and was doing very well. We missed him when he got injured but hopefully he'll be back fully fit next season when we expect a lot more from him. Ian Holmes ended up as top scorer and really we didn't score enough last season but he got seventeen and we'd have been in trouble without those goals."

The manager gave Clubman Kris Witcombe special praise.

"I can't say a bad word about the lad, he never lets us down and always gives the full 100%. He might not have the ability of other players but he makes up for that with his commitment. He's got a heart of gold, never moans and just gets on with things."

Striker Liam Wilkin turned out for his old club Winterton Rangers in the Lincolnshire side's final Baris NCEL Premier Division fixture of the season at Arnold Town last Saturday, scoring Rangers opening goal in a 3-2 defeat.

"We had no problem in him playing for them, he's still be our player next season. He'll be back for pre-season and we'll be doing plenty of work with him for we feel he can offer us something different to what we've had in attack this past season" Atkins explained.

Bradford Park Avenue will join Chester in Blue Square Conference North next term after their 1-0 extra time win against FC United of Manchester in Sunday's play off final.

"As usual the teams coming up will be just as strong" said Atkins. "I went and watched Ilkeston in the 7-0 play off semi final win against Sheffield and their performance that night was good enough to rival a top six or seven team in the Premier Division. I'm told Witton are a good strong side also and these only got up via the play offs. We've got to try and move forward with these clubs and we'll be hoping to strengthen our squad to do just that."

Where next?

Chairman steps down at Rainworth Derek Blow quits after five years
Season in Stats - First Division South A statistical summary of the 2011/12 season

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