Ilkeston FC will be aiming to continue their encouraging spell of form this weekend as they prepare for a run of consecutive home games.
The visit of local rivals Matlock Town will be the first of four straight home matches for the Robins, with Buxton (March 15), Blyth Spartans (22nd) and Chorley (29th) all set to come to the New Manor Ground before Ilkeston’s next scheduled away game at Ashton United on April 5.
The sequence will give Kevin Wilson’s men a good opportunity to continue a run which has seen them lose just once in the last six games in all competitions, and the manager says he is keen to see his players cement a top half spot.
“We’ve won our last three home games so it’s important we try and continue to make the New Manor Ground a fortress towards the end of the season and keep going to finish as high as we can,” he said.
“It all starts with a couple of local derbies against Matlock and Buxton which will be exciting I’m sure.
“The one defeat we’ve had in the last few games was against a side in very good form so all in all it’s been a positive run.”
Last Saturday saw Ilkeston earn a 2-2 draw at Nantwich Town, Matt Richards and Joe Maguire on target in a game between two mid-table sides.
And Wilson felt that overall a draw was probably the right result.
He said: “We didn’t really turn up in the first-half despite getting the early goal.
“We had talked about moving the ball from side to side given their wingers like to play high up and the goal came from making four or five passes across the pitch which was pleasing.
“But we’re prone to these dips in concentration every now and again and these cost us in the end, although Ross Etheridge kept us in it with the second penalty save which I thought was fair given it looked a poor decision to give it in the first place.
“We were much better in the second-half and it could have gone either way. Rai Simons missed a couple of good chances late on and although I believe a player of his calibre should have taken one of them, he’ll learn from the experience.”
The Robins boss said he removed skipper Laurie Wilson from the action during the second-half after the midfielder had argued with the opposition and the referee on several occasions, adding: “You sometimes just have to calm down and not get in the ref’s ear too much as it doesn’t help anyone, but it also gave us a chance to have another look at Chey Adams who did well alongside Callum Chettle.”
Meanwhile, Tyrell Waite, who ended his second spell at Ilkeston FC just last week to return to parent club Notts County, came off the bench for the Magpies in their 6-0 defeat at Rotherham on Saturday.
Waite had featured for County under former boss Chris Kiwomya but new manager Shaun Derry took a look for the first time in Yorkshire.
Wilson added: “They wanted him back to have a look at him so it’s good to see he came on for a while even though they lost.
“I hope he goes on to do well there because he impressed in his loan spell and of course he is originally a product of our academy and one of the real success stories so far.”