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Chettle keen for Robins to stay fresh

Steve Chettle
Steve Chettle

Steve Chettle says minimising the effect of losing yet another fixture to the weather has been his key priority over the last week.

With the big freeze that hit the UK putting paid to Saturday’s trip to Heath Hayes, the Robins were left with another blank weekend to fill.

They did that with a friendly match on the 3G surface at Evo-Stik Division One South high-flyers Basford United, which Chettle felt was a useful addition to his side’s schedule.

He said: “Basford boss Martin Carruthers rang me on Friday and offered us the chance to and get a game in there and it was a really good opportunity for us to get our lads some more minutes.

“The game against Alfreton had, despite the result, been a really positive performance and I wanted us to keep some momentum going because it seems this season that every time we build up a head of steam, the weather intervenes to interrupt our progress.

“So although we lost the game at Basford 3-0 it was far from about the result, rather than getting some game time in and also assessing ourselves once more against a side from a higher level, and I thought we equipped ourselves well.”

Chettle now prepares his team for a double-header against Pershore in the MFL Division One, the first fixture at the New Manor Ground on Saturday before Ilkeston travel to south Worcestershire seven days later.

He said: “We don’t know too much about them other than their league position but as always we’ll prepare thoroughly and do what we do best.

“Our target remains to try and make second spot our own and if Walsall Wood do slip up enough then we have to be ready to capitalise.”

Meanwhile, Chettle’s search for new recruits to freshen up the Ilkeston squad as the season enters its final stages could bear fruit this week.

The Robins boss has been keen to add more firepower to his side despite promising form from Montel Gibson, Tim Hopkinson and Alex Marshall, and fielded a trialist during the game at Basford on Saturday.

And Chettle says other irons are in the fire.

“We had a look at a lad on Saturday but on this occasion he wasn’t for us,” he said.

“But we have a couple coming to training on Tuesday night and again we’ll take a look.

“Patience has been key because understandably clubs don’t want to be releasing good players at a time in the season where they may be needed most in promotion challenges and so on.

“But we’ve had the feelers out for players that need to be the right fit. I’ve got good knowledge of players at a few levels above and the likes of Ian Deakin have contacts all over this level and below, so between us we have been drawing up lists and seeing what we can come up with.

“The three lads we’ve got up front have done very well but Alex is recovering having had a few games out suspended and it’s good for us to have other options available.”