Boss Wilson keen to build on positive Robins season

Ilkeston FC boss Kevin Wilson has said the Robins’ 12th place finish in the Evo-Stik Premier Division has given the club plenty to build on for next season.

A 1-0 win over Marine on Saturday brought what was the club’s first season at Northern Premier League level to an end.

And whilst Wilson felt there were inevitably areas his squad could have been better at times during the campaign, he remained largely positive about the last nine months.

He said: “We’re putting building blocks down all the time and this season has really taught us a lot.

“It was great to end it with some silverware last week in the Derbyshire Senior Cup final, and a mid-table finish in the league isn’t bad in the circumstances.

“Scoring goals has been a problem at times which is something we’ll have to address during the summer, but we conceded fewer than most of the clubs around us in the table and our goal difference was favourable too.”

Plans for next season are already in full flow, with a pre-season friendly against Chelsea announced this week (see page 47) and Wilson talking to members of his squad about their futures.

He added: “We’ve some tough decisions to make in terms of having to let some players go, but it’s really important to keep our income and expenditure in check as we always have done.

“That’s why arranging some good pre-season friendlies is important because it provides good income that can in turn be ploughed into the playing squad.

“I’ve also been really impressed by some of the academy lads who featured in the last few games so that gives us confidence that we may be able to utilise them at times next season.

“We know they’re far from the end product, but some have shown they can compete at this kind of level which is very pleasing indeed.”

Meanwhile, Wilson has paid tribute to defender Russell Cooke, who retired from football after the Marine game.

Cooke, 32, captained Ilkeston to promotion last year at the heart of the defence.

Wilson said: “Cookey has been a great servant for Ilkeston and it goes without saying that we wish him all the very best in the future.

“He’s had an excellent two seasons with us where he’s helped a lot of the younger players in their development.

“It’s disappointing to lose him but he’s got a young family, a good job and I think he’s thinking that maybe football has taken its toll on his body and it’s time to look at other avenues.”