Paul Holland says he’s itching to get his Ilkeston FC players into competitive action for the first time after the club’s suspension from the Northern Premier League was lifted.
The Robins will belatedly begin the new season at home to Ashton United on Saturday after their first four games of the campaign were postponed by the NPL following a breach of rules and regulations.
With the league now satisfied that all conditions have been met to see the suspension lifted, it’s all systems go at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.
Holland said: “It’s been frustrating to say the least but we’ve tried to make the best of it and keep smiles on faces within the squad.
“We have to hit the ground running and try and get the fans back on board. We’re already playing catch up which isn’t ideal but if we can get a good start then the games in hand may prove a plus.
“We’ve tried to keep everyone fit but we haven’t even been allowed to play in any friendlies so everything has been done during training.
“However, I’ve told the players there will be no excuses and I expect them to be fully prepared.”
The Robins also revealed that midfielder Anton Brown has signed for the club.
Brown, 29, featured during pre-season for Ilkeston and includes Corby Town, Alfreton Town, Nuneaton Town and Harrogate Town on his CV.
Holland said: “I was always confident that I’d get him, but until you get the signature on paper, you never know for sure that you will get the player.
“There were several other clubs interested in him and that he chose Ilkeston shows that he was true to his word.
“He had work and family commitments over the final weeks of pre-season which needed to take priority for him, but he was back with us last night for training and he thoroughly enjoyed it and agreed to sign for two years, so I’m really pleased with that.
“I’ve known Anton since he was 16 and I’ve always known what a good player he is.
“He brings a bit more steel to the midfield and, along with Luke Foster and Rory Coleman, a bit more experience that the lads around him will learn from.”
Brown will be available to make his debut against Ashton.
To read the thoughts of Robins skipper Matt Baker, click here
Ilkeston will be in action again on Bank Holiday Monday when they travel to local rivals Matlock Town for a 3pm kick-off.