NEWLY-FORMED Ilkeston FC will begin life in the Evo Stik League Division One South when the 2011/12 season commences in August.
The news was announced by the Football Association on Friday and means the Robins are just two promotions away from the level Ilkeston Town FC vacated when the club was liquidated last September.
Among those clubs Ilkeston will face next season are fellow Derbyshire side Belper Town, as well as the likes of Grantham Town, Hucknall Town and Sheffield FC.
Chairman Dave Mantle received a call straight after the Leagues Committee had met to finalise the make-up of the various leagues for next season.
He said: “It’s exactly what we were hoping for and I’m relieved as well as delighted.
“The threat was hanging over us that we could be relegated even further so under the circumstances, to come back at step four is as good as we could have hoped for.
“It’s really good news and now that we know the way forward, we all have to knuckle down and get on with the job of re-establishing Ilkeston as a non-league club to be reckoned with.”
Manager, Kevin Wilson, said: “I’m just pleased that at last we can start to make plans because the past few months have been very frustrating.
“Had we gone down three steps it would have seriously affected the whole infrastructure of the club but now we can continue the youth development by playing in the Conference Youth League - which is a good standard - and start signing players capable of being successful in the Evo-Stik South. The big thing is that everything we do from now on will be with a real sense of purpose.”
Speaking on behalf of the Ilkeston Football Club Supporters’ Group (IFCSG), Duncan Payne told the Advertiser: “It’s fantastic news. It really is the best possible outcome for the club and the fans.
“I’m very very pleasantly surprised that the FA has decided to place us at that level of football as it’s ony two relegations.
“It’s exactly what we’d hoped for, it’s brilliant news.”