Manager Kevin Wilson saw his Ilkeston FC players secure their future in the Evo-Stik Premier Division this week and challenged them to end the season on a high.
Four points from the Easter programme saw off any lingering relegation fears ahead of the final league game at Trafford this weekend and the Derbyshire Senior Cup final against Glossop North End at Alfreton next Tuesday.
And with the pressure off, a delighted Wilson is now determined to end a topsy-turvy season in positive fashion.
He said: “First of all I’m delighted with four points from two games as on paper these were tough encounters but we’ve come through them really well.
“We grew into the game at Marine after they’d dominated the early stages and in the end deserved the win which in turn secured our safety.
“I’m delighted for everyone at the football club because we’ve made progress so quickly in terms of young players coming through sooner than expected and there’s a possibility the five-year plan may have to be altered as a result, but to remain in this division is crucial for us going forward.
“I’ve had a lot of support from people who work with me, from Darren Caskey to Steve Chettle and Rob Kozluk, who have all backed me and tapped into what we’re trying to do, in the process making sure we stay strong as a unit even when things were going against us.
“So it’s testament to the hard work put in by the players that we got through a challenging time and can now look ahead to next season.”
Regarding the draw with Worksop, the Robins boss was delighted to have matched a side challenging for promotion.
“They’ve scored 116 goals this season but they won’t have been used to coming up against a side who play three at the back and we’ve kept our first clean sheet since December against them which is really pleasing, especially having given Luke Shaw a debut,” he added.
“It also ended the run of defeats at home which I didn’t want to take into next season.
“I felt we should actually have won the game given the chances we missed late on and not being awarded a penalty early in the game, but again the players coped well with the new formation which I’d been hesitant to use in recent months but which could well be the way forward, especially given the success we’ve had using it with the academy.”
Saturday’s trip to Trafford, who also have little else to play for other than points, could see Wilson experiment with some of the younger members of the squad ahead of Tuesday’s final against Glossop.
“Rob Duffy and Eli Bako can’t play in the cup final so may get games on Saturday but others are also likely to get a chance to show what they can do,” he said.
“I told the players on Saturday that I wanted us to go unbeaten to the end of the season and that is what we’re in the process of doing.
“The final will once again be a great occasion and Glossop will see it as a real chance to cause an upset given they’re a couple of levels below us, so we’ve got to be ready.
“We’re already looking forward to next year but to end this campaign with another trophy will be a great achievement and then the players can go off an enjoy themselves.”