New Ilkeston boss Shaun Goater excited by tough challenge

Shaun Goater
Shaun Goater

Shaun Goater says he is under no illusions as to how tough it will be to keep Ilkeston FC in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, but that he is excited by the challenge ahead.

The 46-year-old was appointed as Robins head coach on Friday after Paul Holland stepped down from the role following discussions with club chairman Nigel Harrop.

The change comes as Ilkeston look to halt a run of 20 games without a win in all competitions, Holland having been forced to field teams largely full of teenagers over the last four months.

Despite those circumstances, it was felt a change was necessary and Goater, who scored over 200 goals in a career that saw him star for the likes of Manchester City, Rotherham United and Reading as well as the Bermudian national team, is the man chosen to take the helm.

He said: “The timing is right for me and it’s a good fit, what with the connection the club already has with Bermuda and with me looking to build my coaching experience.

“I’ve always taken a keen interest in the club’s fortunes ever since Rai Simons was here as I know his father, and although I’m aware of the links the club has with my home country I hadn’t actually realised just how many Bermudian players there are here.

“I only know Dale Eve personally but because I am friends with the national team coach and the U21 coach, I’m well aware of the qualities the other guys have.

“That, complemented by the other talent at the club, gives me great encouragement.

“I like the ethos here and have seen the rewards it has produced with players like Rai progressing higher, so I’m keen to help that continue.

“Some may not like the ethos but I believe in it so it’s exciting to be part of it.”

Ilkeston are currently 12 points from safety in the Evo-Stik Premier Division and will face Sutton Coldfield Town at home on Saturday in a crucial relegation six-pointer.

A lack of goals has been a key factor in their recent form, something Goater is keen to help rectify, with the new head coach also agreeing that new faces will be required to help the team’s cause.

He said: “As a player, I was the kind of striker that relied on service, rather than being the sort who could beat three players and then put the ball in the top corner.

“So I will have a big eye on improving the creativity here and ensuring the service to the front players is sufficient, as well as maintaining hard work in defence too.

“Of course new players will be needed, particularly those with a good physical presence as right now we don’t have too many guys in there who are, in my eyes, tall enough and/or strong enough to cope with this league.”

In a message to the fans, Goater says he hopes the town will get behind the team as they aim to secure survival.

He added: “I’d urge supporters to get down to the New Manor Ground and get behind the players as that support is so crucial. It’s my job to get things right from a tactical and coaching point of view but the fans have a part to play too.

“Over the next few weeks I think they’ll see that things are being done a bit differently and I hope they’ll get on board with it.

“I’d love to create a real buzz around the town and also create a belief amongst the players that we can stay up.

“Of course it won’t be easy - I think we probably need around ten or 11 wins to give ourselves a real chance - but the challenge starts here.”