Kevin Wilson has paid tribute to his Ilkeston FC players after their superb Boxing Day fightback at Belper Town - but that’s a stark contrast to the sentiments directed towards them at half-time.
The Robins boss was angry at what he perceived to be the worst first-half display of the season as bottom-of-the-table Belper went in 2-0 ahead, seemingly galvanised by having new manager Jimmy Albans at the helm for the first time.
But Rob Duffy’s ten-minute hat-trick secured all three points and made it ten games unbeaten going into the New Year’s Day clash at home to Buxton.
Wilson said: “I don’t usually have too much cause to let fly like I did at Belper but I told the players in no uncertain terms that the performance was unacceptable for this football club and given the standards they’d set themselves.
“We brought Mike Williams off as he wasn’t feeling well and hasn’t trained since, and Eli Bako did really well as his replacement.
“Maybe Belper having a new boss had an effect in the first-half as the players are obviously keen to impress, but in the end we knuckled down and controlled the second period.
“It was good for Rob Duffy too as he hadn’t been scoring too often but we know he has goals in him and he showed that on Friday, but it was a great team display overall in the second-half.”
Sunday’s match at Grantham Town was postponed due to the large amounts of snow that fell across the Midlands over Friday and Saturday, but other results meant Ilkeston remained third in the table going into the New Year’s Day game with Buxton who are currently second.
Barwell then arrive at the New Manor Ground on Saturday looking to repeat their success over the Robins in October.
Wilson said: “Barwell were the last team to beat us in the league but we’ve come a very long way since then and that’s showing in the results we’re getting.
“We’re on a great run and just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”
With regard to squad additions, Wilson says he is keen to strengthen but at the same time not disrupt the current morale amongst the team.
He added: “We’re always looking to strengthen the squad but we don’t want to just throw players straight in to replace those who are playing well.
“We’ve spoken to a few clubs to see who they have available and there are one or two options, although it’s been difficult to sort anything out over Christmas.
“The players who come in have to be right for us and fit into the system straight away as we don’t want the rhythm to be disrupted.”
Following the Barwell game, Lincoln United will be the visitors on Tuesday night in the third round of the Doodson Sport League Cup, with Wilson saying: “We’ll see how things go over the next couple of games in terms of what kind of side we’re likely to pick, but we’re keen to do well in the competition so will be taking it seriously.”