Robins prepare for ‘voyage into the unknown’

Steve Chettle
Steve Chettle

Manager Steve Chettle says the newly-formed Ilkeston Town will be ready for the challenge of Midland League Football on Saturday as they head to Uttoxeter Town for their first ever competitive game.

The most recent incarnation of the Robins was only formed a month ago, with Chettle installed as manager soon afterwards.

But with three friendlies under their belts and a squad of players signed up, Chettle says they’re as ready as they’ll ever be.

He said: “It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re ready for the challenge.

“It’s something of a voyage into the unknown, particularly for me given I’ve not been involved at this level before, but I’ve got people around that have and that’s been a big help.

“We know very little about Uttoxeter Town other than what colour they play in, but I’m confident that with the team we’ve put together we can go there and get a result.”

Chettle was speaking before Tuesday night’s match against a squad from Notts County, that being the third and final pre-season friendly following 4-0 wins over both Underwood Villa and Clifton All Whites over the last week.

He said: “Underwood was something of a ‘breaking the ice’ session but to score four without reply was pleasing.

“Clifton was a tougher test in that they’ll be at a parallel level to us next season but again we came through it well.

“I’m not sure what to expect from the Notts County game but the team we put out will probably be pretty close to that we start with against Uttoxeter.

“We’ll have a couple of suspensions on Saturday carried over from last season, including for Ian Deakin (player/assistant manager) but we’ve got a squad of 16 registered and there may be a couple more additions this week.”

Chettle also explained how work has continued to go on behind the scenes at the New Manor Ground ahead of the Robins’ first league game against Heath Hayes on August 12.

He said: “The place was very tired and has been neglected a bit over recent months so it’s been quite a job giving it a bit of love and trying to get it ready for the first game, but it’s certainly been a hive of activity since we arrived.

“The pitch in particular needed lots of work but we’re lucky to have access to some very talented groundstaff who have done plenty to revive it.”

Chettle has also reiterated his desire to see football fans in the town rally round the new club.

He added: “We will do everything as professionally as I’m used to and the core values will remain the same. I really hope the fans buy into what’s happening here and early indications show that they’re doing that.

“We can’t do anything about what happened before, that’s history now and it’s a new start.

“We are two weeks into a long-term project and we’re keen to get the community on board and for them to help us.

“The players’ attitude has been really good and now it’s about putting everything we’ve done in such a short space of time into practice.”

*The Robins’ short pre-season schedule ended with a 4-2 defeat to Notts County at Basford on Tuesday night, Paris Simmons among the scorers as the young Magpies earned victory.