Progress pleases Wilson as season edges nearer

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Kevin Wilson says he is satisfied with the progress being made by Ilkeston FC as pre-season edges towards its final stages.

The new Evo-Stik Premier Division season starts on August 16 with a trip to Witton Albion and the Robins have three more friendlies to play before the big kick-off.

With that in mind, Wilson gave 90 minutes to several key players across two games on Saturday, a 2-0 defeat at North Ferriby United and a 3-0 win at Swallownest MW in Yorkshire.

He said: “At this stage we have to start looking at giving players 90 minutes so they’re match fit ahead of the new campaign.

“We’re pleased with how things are going so far and everything is being geared towards the opening day of the season so it worked well for us to have been able to split the teams last weekend.”

Several players are still officially on trial with the Robins and as the season draws ever closer, Wilson is keen to finalise his squad as soon as he can.

Defender Jack Lane and midfielder David Morgan have been regular contributors during pre-season, whilst former Matlock Town, Grantham and King’s Lynn striker Massiah McDonald was a substitute for the Robins on Saturday.

Goalkeeper Jordan Smith is also a player the Robins may look to keep on for the new campaign.

“We’ll have a behind-closed-doors game on Thursday to have a final look at some lads and make some decisions,” Wilson added.

“David Morgan is someone I’m keen to bring in and he’s keen to stay as the full-time training suits him well. There may also be deals to be done with one or two others over the next few days.”

The Robins head to Gresley FC on Saturday and then Coalville Town next Tuesday, with Wilson adding: “We’ll experiment with two different shapes at Gresley as it’s important to have other options to go with the 5-3-2 we’re aiming to begin with.”

Meanwhile, among those to depart the New Manor Ground ahead of the new season is Ryan Wilson, son of the manager and a regular starter for the Robins since the club was formed in 2010.

The defender has joined Conference Premier side Gateshead on a one-year contract where he links up once again with assistant manager Darren Caskey, who was with Ilkeston until November last year.

Wilson senior said the move was bittersweet for him in a playing sense and also in his role as a dad.

He told the club’s official website: “As a dad I’m delighted for Ryan but as a manager I’m devastated because he gave us a lot that some people might not have appreciated.

“He’s joining a very good football club and it’s bound to help his transition that he’ll be working again with Darren Caskey, who obviously played a big part in his development at Ilkeston FC.

“I think he has been a very consistent performer for us in the 100-odd games he’s played and if I’m honest, he has probably reached the point where he deserves the chance show he can go higher.”