KEVIN Wilson says now is the time for Ilkeston FC to take the bull by the horns in the race for the league title - and to make the New Manor Ground a fortress in the closing stages.
Ilkeston sit third in the table just three points behind Carlton and Grantham, who have one and three games in hand respectively.
But eight of the Robins’ 12 remaining matches are at home and manager Wilson wants that to be a crucial factor as they put pressure on the leaders.
He said: “Unlike Carlton and Grantham, we haven’t really put a long string of results together as yet but now is the time for us to try and do that.”
“If we can then we could well come up on the outside and be in with a shout of the title.
“The onus is on the top two at the moment. It’s all about who copes with the pressure when it gets to this stage and who has got the strongest squad both mentally and physically.
“No matter what happens, our young squad has been fantastic and achieved so much this year, but we want to get promoted and there’s no reason why we can’t do it without the need for the play-offs.”
Ilkeston returned to action following their enforced ‘winter break’ with a 4-0 win at Romulus last Saturday.
Two goals in each half did the damage on the hosts’ 3G pitch, and Wilson was pleased with the way his side applied themselves throughout.
“It took us 15 minutes or so to get back some of the fluidity having not played or trained much in the previous couple of weeks, but having done that the the two goals before half-time then certainly settled us down even more,” he said.
“The pitch didn’t really pose any problems as we got on with playing our normal game and were very controlled throughout.”
The Robins now face the first two of those eight home games in the space of three days, with New Mills arriving on Saturday ahead of Lincoln United’s visit on Monday night.
And Wilson believes the double-header gives the perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling for the run-in.
He said: “We need to take the momentum from Saturday into this weekend.
“New Mills haven’t played much recently though they’re due to play Derby on Wednesday (15th) in the Senior Cup so we’ll see how that goes.
“The Monday night games have been fruitful as we’ve taken 13 points from a possible 15 so far and the fans have also kept coming in numbers to those games, so hopefully that will continue against Lincoln and again with Leek the following Monday.”