KEVIN Wilson says it is now time for his Ilkeston FC squad to stand up and be counted as the club prepares for an exciting finale to its maiden season.
With Grantham Town confirmed as Evo-Stik Division One South champions, it’s second place that the Robins now covet as they attempt to seal home advantage in any potential play-off final.
A semi-final at the New Manor Ground is already assured, but manager Wilson says regardless of where the Robins play, they have to earn the right to go up.
He said: “We have to remain totally focused and professional to the end. If we do that then I believe we will win our matches and deserve to go up, but if we don’t then on that basis we’ll rightly stay where we are.
“We’ve spoken to the management team at Grantham and congratulated them on their title win. They have been the best team all season with an experienced side showing how it should be done.
“We’re a bit the opposite in that we’re a very young side sprinkled with experienced players, but we now hope to end the season well and join them in being promoted.”
The Bank Holiday weekend saw Ilkeston take four points from a trip to Kidsgrove and the visit of Hucknall Town, with Wilson having mixed feelings after the double-header.
“The Kidsgrove game was frustrating as we had lots of possession and restricted them to pretty much one shot which hit the post, but we couldn’t break them down,” he said.
“The pitch wasn’t conducive to our style and changing the way we play is something we may have to look at when we go away from home.
“Against Hucknall we were slow out of the blocks again and conceded a bad goal, but once we scored I didn’t think there was any doubt we’d go on and win the game.
“We should really have been 4-1 up at the break but our concentration was better than at times this season and we were able to hold on to the lead and kill the game off late on.
“It was great to have Will McCall back and scoring as it’s like a new signing in many ways. We gave Sam Duncum a much-needed rest and Ryan (Wilson) picked up a head injury but should be OK for Saturday.”
Brigg Town come to the New Manor Ground on Saturday with the Robins knowing a win should virtually assure second spot even if third-placed Carlton Town win at Coalville.
But despite Brigg avoiding relegation and now having only pride to play for, Wilson says Ilkeston can’t take the match for granted.
He said: “We’ve done all our homework on them, both from when we played them in December and through reports we’ve had and we know what we have to do. With the play-offs coming up we can’t take our foot off the gas and need to keep generating some momentum.”
l The Ilkeston FC Supporters Group will present their first ever Player of the Year award this weekend.
The presentation will take place in the clubhouse after the match with Brigg Town on Saturday.