Ilkeston FC column: Doodson progress generates mixed emotions

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I’ve said a few times that the Doodson Sport League Cup is a competition that should probably have been done away with once the Evo-Stik Premier League grew to 24 teams and I still believe that, even though Ilkeston are now in the semi-finals.

All tournaments should be treated with respect if you’re playing in them but with so many other games to play in a season I’d say a competition like that could well be dumped without too much opposition, even ahead of county cups which I actually prefer given there’s not as much risk of it costing clubs more money to be in than they get if they win it.

Anyway, Tuesday night saw Ilkeston eventually get through on penalties against a spirited Spalding side but let’s just say I’m hoping there’s not a long Tuesday away trip in store in the semi-finals!

I was quite surprised to see Kevin Wilson field such a strong line-up. I think Lawrence Gorman was due to start but was eventually forced to drop to the bench, but other than that I’d like to have seen some key players given a rest ahead of Saturday’s trip to Curzon Ashton and the likes of Greg Simmons, Edouard Schoenecker, Haydn Goddard, Elliott Hodgett-Young, Wilfried Gnahore, Jack Oldham and Eli Bako, to name but a few, get starts if they were fit enough to play.

Whether the outcome of the tie would have been different, who knows, but these guys have been on the fringes and could have perhaps done with some competitive mintues to help them be ready should the call come for any reason in the league games.

It’s still set up to be a fascinating final few weeks and FC United look to be the team to beat.

Their form has been outstanding and they are title favourites as things stand. The match between United and Ilkeston on March 10 could be crucial.

Games against the two Ashton-under-Lyme sides are up next with both being fellow play-off contenders. Taking points off any of those in that part of the table would be a massive boost, and with all of the top seven sides still to play at least once, things could be about to get more than a bit exciting.