Wilson: We’ve got 16 cup finals left to play

Brad Fortnam-Tomlinson (right) gets involved during the 1-0 win over Frickley Athletic on Saturday
Brad Fortnam-Tomlinson (right) gets involved during the 1-0 win over Frickley Athletic on Saturday

Manager Kevin Wilson assessed the job in hand as his Ilkeston FC side continues to battle for the title and said: “Every game is a cup final now.”

The Robins are third in the table and in a huge battle for a promotion spot with several teams around them boasting a similar number of points but with a varying number of games having been played.

And with all of the current top seven still to play Wilson’s men, he is keen to see the final third of the campaign go without a hitch.

He said: “They may be cliches but the fact is that we’ve 16 cup finals to play and we’re going to have to take each of them as they come.

“We’ve done incredibly well to get to where we are and it’s up to us to stay there.

“I want to see us get the simple things right, such as earning more clean sheets and taking more chances in front of goal. That will go a long way to helping us succeed.”

The two Ashton-under-Lyne teams provide Ilkeston’s next opposition, with Curzon Ashton the hosts on Saturday and then a re-arranged game at home to Ashton United following two days later.

Both opponents are in and around the play-off zone and Wilson is aware of the need to take points from those around his team in the table.

He said: “We’ll give our players a couple of days off in the run up to the weekend to keep them fresh and let them re-charge a bit and then look to the job ahead.

“It’s a difficult league no matter who you play and although Curzon have struggled recently they’re still in the promotion mix and it’s a huge game for them too.

“Their pitch hasn’t been in great condition given both they and FC United have been playing on it but they’ve been injecting some sand into it and hopefully it’ll hold up and suit our game.

“Ashton is key because midweek games are important but we’ve struggled with them at times so now is a great opportunity to put that right.”

Regarding Tuesday night’s penalty shoot-out win over Spalding in the Doodson Sport Cup, Wilson added: “We got through by the skin of our teeth but at the end of theday it’s all about progressing to the next round.

“Our midweek performances have too often not been good enough and we weren’t at our best again.

“I made a few changes as I felt some needed a rest and I was tempted to make more but keeping a consistent team can count for a lot.

“A positive was the performance of Jake Wright who I thought came in and did really well and he’s given me food for thought ahead of the weekend games now, which is what I wanted in the forward positions now we’ve got so much competition for places.”

Last Saturday had seen Ilkeston score an early winner to defeat Frickley Athletic 1-0.

That was the first league win of 2015 for Wilson’s men and he said: “I was pleased with the reaction following the Gresley game where we were very ring rusty and created little.

“Frickley huffed and puffed and kept digging in but after we scored I thought we’d go on and win comfortably. In the end we didn’t take enough of our chances but they didn’t really threaten enough for it to ultimately matter.”