Advertiser sports editor Mark Duffy on life at Ilkeston FC:
Quite a few of the performances in this 12-match unbeaten run, 11 of which have been wins, haven’t been that impressive but results have been ground out and that is the difference between Ilkeston being second in the league as they are now and perhaps not even being in the play-off spots.
Keep this form going until the end of the season and they’ll probably be champions. It’s as simple as that, but at the same time that’s a really tough task.
Kevin Wilson has told me that he’s keen to keep the pressure off his young players as the second-half of the season progresses and their lofty league position starts to bring with it the pressures of expectation.
That’s fair enough of course, but these lads aren’t daft and will know full well that their position in the table currently means that, even in January, the championship is actually in their own hands.
Skelmersdale are about 100 points clear at the top but most below them have around 500 games in hand so who knows where Skem might end up when all is done and dusted.
Fixture congestion might play a part at some point, especially as Ilkeston continue to progress in the Doodson Sport Cup and Derbyshire Senior Cup, although the rescheduled Grantham away game has now merely filled a blank Saturday and there are only two games outstanding to fit in the calendar somewhere.
Whatever happens, the winning habit is firmly with Ilkeston and a tough visit to Rushall Olympic follows this Saturday that I hope will be a lucky 13th unbeaten game.
A quick word on Ashley Hunter. It was no huge shock when Kevin Wilson told me on Sunday that Hunter’s move to Fleetwood was imminent, partly due to Hunter’s form and also due to the way things are going in terms of players progressing to higher levels this year.
I can understand some fans’ frustrations at the best players departing but this, I am convinced, will all mean a better future for Ilkeston FC in the long run and it’s great to see these departing kids’ dreams coming true.