Chettle delighted by Robins start

Steve Chettle
Steve Chettle

Steve Chettle was left cautiously delighted after seeing his Ilkeston Town side win their first two games in the Midland Football League Premier Division.

Two 3-2 wins, at home to Stourport Swifts on Saturday and at Shepshed Dynamo on Tuesday night, have given the Robins a perfect start ahead of two more home league games over the next week.

And Chettle was left satisfied overall.

He said: “I’d obviously like to see us get a 1-0 win and a clean sheet before long but we’re delighted with the start.

“Scoring six goals in the first two games is pleasing and whilst we need to cut out the errors which have seen us concede four, we can’t be unhappy at how things have gone in terms of the results and the momentum they will create going into the next two games.

“Last season we were always playing catch-up so it would be great if, having got up to the top end of the table straight away, we can stay there all season, although there is a very long way to go.

“There is lots to work on of course and we’ve spoken about that. We’ve not been able to learn too much from the division yet aside from the football opposition teams play being that bit better, which we more or less expected, but it’s been a really positive start.

Ilkeston now prepare to host Lye Town on Saturday, who have won one and drawn one of their opening two games.

That will then be followed by the visit of local rivals Long Eaton United on Tuesday night, a team featuring several players who featured for Ilkeston FC before the club was liquidated including Tom Gamblen, Scott Low and Charlie Scanlon, as well as Romaine Graham and Calum Smith who played for Ilkeston Town last season.

He said: “With two home games in a row it’s a great chance to maintain and build on the momentum we’ve gained so far.

“But we’ll have to make changes. Two players, Elliott Reeves and Shaun Rickford, have pre-booked holidays and Billy Bennett is struggling with injuries and is doubtful for Saturday.

“Those are things that aren’t ideal but you can’t do much about it and it’ll give the likes of Chris Shaw and Ryan Wheatley the chance to come back into the team and stake a claim to stay there.

“We’ve always said that we need a big and quality squad for situations like this and that those not picked for one game have to be patient and ready as they could well be called upon in the next for whatever reason, so I don’t think we are weakened by the absences.”

Regarding Saturday’s opening day win against Stourport, Chettle said: “I’m not sure I can take too many more games like that given the emotions but that’s how it often is here and could be a rollercoaster again this season!

“We scored a lot from set plays last season and need to do so again.

“The players we have will be threats in situations like that, particularly Shaun Rickford who is called ‘Bullet’ pretty much for that reason.

“We need to be better at defending them but at any level, they can turn a game so it’s important to get them right.”

Meanwhile, the fixture against Coventry United, due to be played away on Monday, August 20, has been switched to the New Manor Ground at Coventry's request. The return game will now take place in Coventry on December 22.