KEVIN Wilson praised his Ilkeston FC players’ patience after their third win in four matches - and has urged them to carry the momentum forward to another busy weekend.
Having already endured four matches in nine days, two more come over the Bank Holiday before a welcome 11-day break will give the young Robins squad a chance to recuperate.
And looking back over the victories against Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday and Market Drayton Town on Monday night, Wilson felt the matches provided very different insights into what it will take to succeed in their new division.
“Monday night was a game where the goal was always going to come, it was just a case of having to be patient and to the players’ credit they were just that,” he said.
“But most of all I’m delighted that in our two home games so far we’ve kept clean sheets in both, and I expect that trend to continue against Kidsgrove on Saturday.
“The match at Loughborough emphasised that away from home we have to be a lot stronger, better organised and have more shape about us, something we’ve lacked a little in both away games so far.
“It’s a different environment for what is still a very young squad to adapt to and it won’t happen overnight, but they’re learning and developing all the time.”
Wilson also took time out to praise returning striker Gary Ricketts, whose winning goal sealed the points on Monday and whose overall presence has made a big difference in the two games he has played since serving a club suspension.
“I didn’t expect anything different from Gary as he’s very experienced and you always know what you’re going to get from him,” said Wilson.
“I was pleased for him on Monday because he worked very hard and deserved a goal, even if it was a bit scrappy, but I’ll take those all day long if it wins matches.”
Following Saturday’s visit of Kidsgrove, who have lost only once so far and seen their four games produce 20 goals, Ilkeston will take part in their first local derby of the season with a trip to Belper Town on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm)
Wilson added: “I’ve come up against Belper boss Tommy Taylor before when we were both managing in the Football League, and you know his sides will always be well organised and tough to beat.
“So with these next two matches I hope the momentum we’ve gained from two straight wins will remain, particularly with a welcome break after Monday’s game.”
On the injury front, defender and club captain Russell Cooke is rated 50-50 to take part on Saturday following a hamstring strain, as is midfielder Joe Maguire, who scored twice at Loughborough before injury brought his match to a halt.
Definitely out are winger Will McCall, whose groin injury picked up on Monday is yet to be fully assessed but could keep him out for around a month, and Wilson’s son Ryan who is suffering with an illness it is thought he picked up on holiday over the summer and which has flared up once more.