Manager Kevin Wilson paid tribute once again to his young Ilkeston FC squad this week as he revelled in cup glory and a positive end to the league campaign.
Saturday’s 5-2 win over Trafford rounded off the Evo-Stik Premier Division season in style and was then followed by the Robins successfully retaining the Derbyshire Senior Cup with a 2-0 victory over Glossop North End at Alfreton on Tuesday.
Wilson believes there is much more to come from some of his young starlets but for now is satisfied with the progress made as the season came to a close.
He said: “It’s really good to end the season like we have because at one stage it looked like it would be a really difficult struggle but the lads have battled well and coped with the new system and we’ve got the results we wanted.”
On Tuesday’s final success, Wilson added: “It was a tough game. Finals sometimes don’t live up to expectations as it’s often only about winning.
“I thought Glossop really worked hard but I didn’t feel they created too many major threats and we also did well with our game management when we went 2-0 up.
“Our central defence was excellent too and we got the win without really playing the best game we could have but through working hard and taking our chances.
“The red card at 1-0 was the right decision as it was a poor challenge and very late so he had to go.
“Not many teams have retained this trophy and although people may only look at it as being a local cup competition it’s still great to go and win it.”
Wilson is now preparing for a two-week trip to Majorca with the Robins academy, all part of a link-up with Spanish club Real Mallorca.
But his mind will also be quickly fixed on the next campaign with regard to the first team as well, with decisions to make as to what is required for an improvement on this season’s 17th place finish.
He said: “It’s been a strange season and there will be lots of looking back and reflecting on what’s happened. Everyone’s made mistakes over the season, including myself, but I believe in what the football club is doing and I think more and more of the fans are too.
“Of course it gets frustrating sometimes but they keep going, keep working and they will get their rewards as they did in the cup final.
“It was also good on Saturday at Trafford to see a very young side win so well. Trafford weren’t at full strength but we showed good character to finish the game really strongly and to score five goals, including some big contributions from some of the teenagers, was very pleasing.”
“I’m also grateful to the fans who have stuck with us and who I know will be back in great numbers next season.
“So we’ll sit down, take stock and look at what we need for next year. There are three exciting games pencilled in for pre-season, and I mean really exciting, so that should get us off to a good start when the players all come back.”
Meanwhile, AFC Fylde will host Ashton United in Saturday’s Premier Division play-off final after they overcame Worksop Town and FC United of Manchester respectively on Tuesday night.
Chorley were promoted as champions last Saturday.