Manager Kevin Wilson has backed his Ilkeston FC players to respond positively following the Robins’ FA Cup exit at the hands of AFC Fylde.
Monday night’s 1-0 replay defeat followed an encouraging 1-1 draw in Lancashire on Saturday and cost Ilkeston the chance to host League Two side Accrington Stanley in the first round proper.
And Wilson says the whole squad was devastated to have exited the competition.
“Everyone’s gutted because we saw the first round as being our cup final so in a sense we’ve fallen at the final hurdle,” he said.
“It was our first ever attempt at the FA Cup and we did really well to get so far, but in the end we couldn’t make all the possession we had count.
“We lacked the final ball and the right decisions at key times. I can’t fault the players for effort as they kept trying, were patient and passed and moved well, but I felt we lacked a bit of width and quality balls into the box.”
Adam Farrell’s goal inside the first two minutes won the tie for Fylde - the third time in as many games Ilkeston have conceded in the first five minutes of the game.
Wilson said: “That’s obviously a concern because it shows our concentration levels aren’t great at the moment and it’s cost us dear.
“I think the confidence is a bit low at the moment but I know that with the quality we’ve got we’re capable of winning plenty more games and moving up the league table in the process.”
Attention switches to the FA Trophy this weekend and a trip to Whitby Town in the second qualifying round.
And Wilson is keen to see a good response from his squad.
“It’s a great chance to pick up our confidence again and I expect the lads to get their heads down and return to winning ways,” he said.
“The lads are all disappointed after Monday but we’ll have a short, sharp training session on Thursday and try to get it out of their system.”
Meanwhile, full-back James Cullingworth has returned to the club following a spell in Australia and could feature in Saturday’s game.
But influential winger Will McCall and defender Chris Jones have left the club by mutual consent after struggling to settle in the Robins side this season.