Watts and Wilcox next to commit to Ilkeston

Jack Watts

Jack Watts

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KEVIN Wilson remained a busy man this week as he continued to plan ahead for next season.

The Ilkeston FC boss secured new deals for two more players from last season’s promotion-winning squad, as well as recruiting two members of the club’s successful academy into the first-team ranks.

And with pre-season friendlies also being arranged, things are moving along well.

Wilson said: “There’s no major rush at the moment which is important. We’ve been able to tie down the majority of last season’s team, and while there are still a few who I need to talk to, I’m happy with the progress.

“I’m also looking at bringing new players in and hope to have a look at a few during pre-season.”

The latest to sign up are Jack Watts and Joe Wilcox, both versatile players who made encouraging impacts last year.

Defender Ellis Storey and midfielder Mike Williams have been promoted from the academy, joining the likes of Andrew Osei-Siribour, Tyrell Waite and Scott Low who have all appeared in the first-team in the past following academy tuition – Waite having since moved on to Notts County.

Wilson said: “Jack is one of a number of players who improved out of all recognition during the course of last season and if they stay together and keep working hard, there’s no telling what they could achieve as a group.

“I obviously knew all about his potential from his spell with Ilkeston Town. But he’s now bigger and stronger, learning all the time, and he proved himself to be a real handful for defenders in the second half of last season.

“He has an excellent work ethic, certainly has a goal in him and his ability to adapt to a variety of positions was a big asset to us.

“Both he and Joe Wilcox have versatility which can be vital at this level.”

Friendlies

Meanwhile, Sheffield United head a list of four pre-season friendlies so far arranged at the New Manor Ground.

They will arrive on Wednesday, July 18, with Notts County following three days later.

Burton Albion will be next up on Tuesday, July 24, and a week later Port Vale will send a team to play the Robins.

Further games are expected to be arranged ahead of the new season which begins on Saturday, August 18.