Duffers’ Diaries: Time to start looking ahead

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I think there was a collective sigh of relief when the final whistle went on Monday night to signal Ilkeston’s win over Whitby and an end to a horrid run of defeats.

They should really have done enough now to stay up and although there are plenty of points still to play for, I think there are too many teams with too many points to make up for there to be any more need for panic.

It was only ever going to take one win but it was important things didn’t drag on too long because with sides in the bottom six still to play, any further defeats could have made things very twitchy indeed.

Ramsbottom have gone and Colwyn Bay look set to follow them. I also fear for Saturday’s opponents Hyde who are struggling for form, while Whitby didn’t look too convincing at all on Monday so at the moment would be my fourth pick to go down, although I hope they don’t as there are some great people at that club and I think we all enjoy the away trip!

Either way, Ilkeston look safe and attention must now turn to planning the summer months in a way that a team can be assembled which will offer a far more sustained and competitive challenge to the promotion spots than a side with such a young average age will be able to.

Saturday’s game with Blyth was pretty crazy. The visitors scored all of their goals at crucial times, albeit the last one coming when most of us should have been tucked up in bed.

It was great to see the young Robins raise their game to take such a commanding lead though and, along with Monday’s display, certainly gave us cause to believe that a few of them look capable of being regulars again next year.

It’s important to finish the season as strongly as possible now because the fans deserve that and the players are keen to impress having had such a hard time.

Their attitude can’t be faulted and a relegation scrap wouldn’t have been fair on them given the current circumstances, but they’ve got themselves out of any potential mess and for that they deserve great credit.