Forest test pleases boss as fixtures are released

Ilkeston striker Gary Ricketts (right) challenges Nottingham Forest defender Danny Collins during the pre-season friendly at the New Manor Ground on Saturday. Photo by Rob Stephenson.
Ilkeston striker Gary Ricketts (right) challenges Nottingham Forest defender Danny Collins during the pre-season friendly at the New Manor Ground on Saturday. Photo by Rob Stephenson.

A confident display against a strong Nottingham Forest side and the release of next season’s fixtures gave Ilkeston boss Kevin Wilson plenty to think about this week as the new campaign draws ever closer.

Saturday’s 2-0 friendly defeat to Forest saw Wilson’s young charges come up against seasoned Championship players, with a number of regulars from manager Billy Davies’ first team starting the encounter (report on page 44).

And that was something Wilson believes was of great benefit to his players.

He said: “First of all we’re very grateful to Forest for bringing such a strong side. It was great for the fans and gave our players an excellent test.

“When we went two down early on we feared the worst a little bit, but we worked hard to stop them breaking through again, despite them missing a few good chances.

“Obviously it’s still all about fitness levels and getting game time but for our young players in particular, to be up against seasoned professionals was a good experience that I felt they coped very well with.”

Several trialists featured once again for Ilkeston, with Wilson slowly becoming more aware of what his squad still requires.

He said: “We had a trialists game at Holbrook on Friday but there weren’t too many on show who I felt were right for us.

“However, one or two of those trialists who played against Burton and Forest have caught the eye and will have more opportunities.”

Ilkeston faced Rotherham United at the New Manor Ground last night (Wednesday), and on Saturday will host a Leicester City XI whilst also sending a side to play Basford in a game where some of those players who haven’t had as many minutes are expected to play.

Meanwhile, Wilson also gave his reaction to the news the Robins will begin the season away at Whitby Town on August 17, following the release of the Evo-Stik Premier Division fixtures (see page 44)

He added: “It’s along trip to start with but we earned six points against Whitby last season so can be confident of getting a result.

“We’ve then got two home games. the first against Stamford who have just been promoted and the second against Marine who we beat at home at the end of last season, so we can be hopeful of starting the season well.”