Boss believes home form could be vital

Ilkeston's Russell Cooke fends off the attention of a Grantham player during the 3-1 defeat the the New Manor Ground on Saturday
Ilkeston's Russell Cooke fends off the attention of a Grantham player during the 3-1 defeat the the New Manor Ground on Saturday

MANAGER Kevin Wilson feels his Ilkeston FC side still need to play with more fluidity at home if they are to successfully maintain their push for promotion.

Last Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home to fellow title-challengers Grantham Town saw the Robins miss chances at key moments in the game and subsequently get punished on the break by the in-form Lincolnshire side.

And while he accepts visiting teams are always likely to adapt their styles to exploit such situations, Wilson says his largely young side still needs to learn how to avoid being caught out.

He said: “I felt on Saturday that at 2-1 down we were very much still in the game, but the turning point was undoubtedly when Daryll Thomas missed a great chance to equalise and within two minutes Grantham got a free-kick at the other end and suddenly we’re 3-1 down.

“Goals change games and that was certainly the case then. We’d controlled the first 15 minutes and had good opportunities to score in that period too which could have got us a lead to build on.

“We need to be a bit more fluid at home because teams are coming here to set their stall up and catch us on the break, something which we’re not facing as much away from home.

“Even against Goole on the opening day we could have been 2-0 down before eventually getting into gear, so it’s important we make the most of what opportunities we get.”

Perspective

Despite Saturday’s loss, Wilson was keen to emphasise his delight at the club’s first ever season so far.

“We’ve got to keep things in perspective and remind everyone that this is a relatively inexperienced squad playing in the club’s first season and that being in the top five at this stage is a fantastic achievement,” he said.

“We’re where we want to be but it’s a massive learning curve and with 18 games still to go there will be lots of twists and turns.

“Grantham had a great run at the end of last season and are on another one at the moment, so I’m almost certain they’ll be challenging at the end of the season. The match against us on the last day of the season could be a vital one for both of us.”

Senior Cup

Tuesday night saw a fringe Robins squad overcome Dronfield Town 4-1 in the Derbyshire Senior Cup, with Wilson pleased to progress.

He said: “It’s nice to be through and I felt we did well in a match which was played in a good spirit and against an in-form Dronfield side who tried to play good football.

“It was important to give a few squad members a run-out and I was pleased to get 90 minutes out of both Darren Caskey and Russell Peel following their injuries.”

Caskey and Peel could well be involved at Brigg Town on Saturday as Ilkeston aim to get back to winning ways in the league.

They then travel to Hucknall Town on Boxing Day before hosting Belper Town on Monday, January 2.