ILKESTON FC are set for a run of three successive home games over the next month which could prove key if they are to maintain a promotion challenge.
That’s the opinion of manager Kevin Wilson, who says the pressure remains very much on current leaders Grantham Town despite their six point lead and three games in hand at the head of the table.
The Robins have a more favourable and less congested run-in than the Lincolnshire side, and while that may mean Grantham have more points to play for, Wilson feels it’s all about mental strength as well as physical at this stage.
He said: “Grantham are the best team in the division and they’ve built well on what they had last season.
“But we’ve got to keep plugging away and getting the points in the bag. I’m aiming for around 18 points from the next seven games and if we get that then who knows what can happen? It’s about who copes with the mental and physical pressure best.
“The home games are of course important and our performances have been better of late, even if the results haven’t all gone our way.”
Last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Newcastle Town brought Ilkeston out of a mini-blip which had seen them drop five points in the previous two matches, and Wilson was pleased to have got things back on track.
He said: “We again showed good ‘bouncebackability’ and it was a comfortable performance, although again I felt we could have won by more in the end.”
This weekend’s opponents at the New Manor Ground are Rainworth Miners Welfare, against whom the Robins won 4-1 back in November but who are renowned for not usually conceding many goals.
That match will be followed by the visit of Sutton Coldfield Town on March 17, before a week off is followed by a game against bottom side Shepshed on January 31.
Wilson added: “We need to implement a lot of the defensive stability we’ve shown away from home on our own patch. We’ve had three clean sheets in a row on our travels and such is our attacking prowess, I think we’ll win games if we don’t concede costly goals like against Lougborough and Leek.”
Ilkeston FC’s Development squad were crowned champions of the Baris North Midlands U19 League Division Three last Wednesday with a crushing 7-0 win over FM Sport Dinnington.
An own goal plus strikes from Laurence Zisaruk-Gibson, Troy Carty, Kieron James, Marc Atwal, Joe Lomax and Luke Walters sealed the success.
Wilson said: “Obviously I’m delighted to have won the league and it’s another milestone for our Academy.
“We’ve now got some tough decisions to make about who stays on and who we let go, but they’ve all done very well.”