Robins raring to go as new season starts at the NMG

Ilkeston won 4-2 at Belper Town on Saturday in their final friendly of the summer. Jonathan Edwards is pictured running at the Belper defence. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Ilkeston won 4-2 at Belper Town on Saturday in their final friendly of the summer. Jonathan Edwards is pictured running at the Belper defence. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Ilkeston head coach Gavin Strachan says the Robins are ready and raring to go as the new Evo-Stik Premier Division season swings into action this weekend.

The 2015/16 campaign begins with a home game against Skelmersdale United on Saturday before the Robins then visit Grantham Town next Tuesday night.

And with an encouraging set of pre-season performances behind them, Strachan is now keen to see his charges hit the ground running in the league.

He said: “We’re really excited and more than ready to go. I think everybody else having started last weekend has made us all even more impatient, but I’m looking forward to seeing all the preparation we’ve done over the last couple of very busy months hopefully prove fruitful.

“It’s good that there’s an excitement about the place but it’s important that we cool that to a degree where the players are still focused and clear on what we need to do.

“We have a very tough and intense start with four games in nine days so it’ll be important we’re ready from the off.

“Skelmersdale started really well last year but we’ve had a chance to get them watched and are aware of some of the dangers they pose.

“Grantham is always a tough place to go and is obviously a big deal for the fans what with the rivalry, so it’s a tough first away game too.”

The final friendly of the summer was a 4-2 win over Belper Town last Saturday. Once again on the scoresheet was Lee Hughes, with a deal for the 39-year-old experienced striker having been done on Wednesday. Read more here

Burton Albion winger Marcus Harness, meanwhile, has joined on a one month loan deal having featured 18 times for the Brewers in League Two last season.

Saturday’s home game will be the first time Ilkeston FC’s new ‘affordable football’ scheme has been put into action with reduced ticket prices all season aiming to encourage big crowds to the New Manor Ground.

Admission is £6 for adults and £4 concessions with under-16s admitted free alongside a paying adult.

And Strachan says getting a good atmosphere and following at the New Manor Ground will be a big help to the team.

He said: “It would be fantastic to get a big gate and, to coin a cliche, for the fans to be something of a 12th man for us.

“But it works both ways. We have to get them excited in the first place and that can help them get behind us.

“We want to play with a vibrancy that will make people want to see more and come back again and again, as well as keep the regulars who are here every week happy with what they’re seeing.”

The opening two games are followed by a long trip to North Wales to face Colwyn Bay on Saturday, August 22 and then a home match with Stourbridge two days later.