Skipper Joe Maguire and player of the year James Reid have both left Ilkeston FC to join up with former boss Kevin Wilson at Nuneaton Town.
Maguire and Reid were both pivotal members of Wilson’s squad at the New Manor Ground, and after each expressed a desire to play at a higher level they have now headed to the National League North club.
But new Robins head coach Gavin Strachan has wasted little time in securing his first two signings to help replace Maguire and Reid, with versatile duo Joe Doyle and Joe Burgess both having signed deals for next season having been at Burton Albion and Fleetwood Town respectively.
Strachan said: “Joe Maguire and James Reid were key players here but both wanted to play higher up and we couldn’t deny them that chance.
“They also both have work commitments which may have affected their ability to train full-time with us but the main reason for leaving was them wanting to play in the National League North which was understandable.
“However, I’m delighted to have brought in Joe Doyle and Joe Burgess.
“Both can play either in defence or midfield and I worked with Burgess at Peterborough after he’d been released by Norwich.
“He has shown great commitment to the cause and is willing to relocate from Cambridgeshire to be closer to Ilkeston, having also done well here on loan last season.
“I saw Joe Doyle play for Burton Albion. He just stood out in terms of his fitness, his tenacity and his ability once he got on the ball. I spoke to a few people who couldn’t speak highly enough of him.”
Strachan is still speaking to several other members of the Robins’ existing squad and says he also hopes to bring in more players over the next few weeks.
He added: “Danny Gordon has already signed a new deal and I’m talking to the other players all the time.
“I’m really keen to get a squad full of players who can train full-time because I think that will maximise our potential to improve and benefit us hugely in match situations on various levels.
“That said, if one or two more experienced players fit the bill but who can only train two or three times a week due to other work commitments, then I wouldn’t rule out factoring them in either, although they will have to have the right character and be able to bring something to the table in terms of helping out the younger players too.”
Strachan says his first fortnight in the job has been ‘hectic’ but that he has been impressed by the infrastructure at the New Manor Ground.
He said: “I’ve been trying to get to know everyone and learn all about the club, as well as watching lots of DVDs from last season so I can learn about the players already here.
“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing with players interested in coming here which I take as a compliment personally but also shows how highly regarded Ilkeston FC is as a club.
“We’re trying to raise the bar in terms of the quality of players we’re looking at and it’s been really positive so far.
“The players are back in training on July 2nd and we’ll then have lots of matches planned so we can have a good look at those who are already here and also those who want to sign.”