Chettle highlights progress as Robins go for ten-in-a-row

Montel Gibson congratulates Alex Marshall after Ilkeston's first goal against Lichfield on Saturday. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Montel Gibson congratulates Alex Marshall after Ilkeston's first goal against Lichfield on Saturday. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Steve Chettle says he hopes this weekend’s visit of Uttoxeter Town will emphasise just how far Ilkeston Town have come since the season began.

Uttoxeter were the new Robins’ first ever competitive opponents back in August on the opening day of the season, Ilkeston earning a 1-1 draw thanks to Chris Shaw’s late free-kick.

Since then, Ilkeston have clicked into gear and victory on Saturday would be their tenth in a row in all competitions, emphasising the progress being made.

And manager Chettle wants to see that continue.

He said: “When we played them in August we’d had barely three weeks to get a team together, hadn’t had much of a pre-season and were lacking fitness.

“Since then we’ve gradually built a more consistent and stable squad and everyone in the team knows their roles and the results are showing.

“I’d say we’re still a month behind where we’d ideally want to be but the form we are in is excellent and we hope to continue.”

After a 2-0 win over Lichfield City on Saturday, the Robins won 3-0 at Bolehall Swifts on Tuesday night to continue a rich vein of form that as well as wins, has seen them keep four clean sheets in a row.

Chettle said Tuesday’s victory, whilst comfortable, was a good test of his team’s mettle on a number of levels given the conditions they faced.

He said: “The weather was bad and the pitch was awful as Bolehall have a lot of teams play games on it and it was in a very poor state.

“I said to the players that the ingredients were there for them to beat us as Swifts had a new manager, virtually an entirely new squad and the conditions were likely to be something of a leveller.

“So our lads had to mentally prepared but coped really well and did a professional job.

“We needed a bit of a fluke to go ahead but once we got the second goal we settled down and Swifts offered nothing in the second-half, giving Ian Deakin another quiet night in goal.”

With a crucial encounter against league leaders Walsall Wood on the horizon on December 9, Chettle is now keen to see Ilkeston’s form maintained in the run-up to that game.

He said: “You can’t let up for a moment as all the teams at the top keep winning. It can be tough winning all the time and not gaining positions in the table but we can’t take our feet off the gas.

“We’ll have a clear weekend after the Uttoxeter game, then a tough trip to Glossop in the Derbyshire Senior Cup, so there’s lots of time before what will be a big game against Walsall Wood, but I hope we can go into that with our winning run still intact.”