Steve Chettle believes all the momentum gained from Ilkeston Town’s impressive winning run has now been lost thanks to the team not having played for nearly a month.
The Robins last took to the pitch on December 9 in a crucial 3-2 win over Walsall Wood, and whilst they only had two scheduled fixtures since, both fell victim to the weather including last weekend’s visit to Coventry Copsewood.
That means this Saturday’s game at bottom-of-the-table Coventry Alvis will be the first in four weeks - a gap longer than the pre-season the club was able to have having formed at the end of July.
Chettle said: “We only had two games on the calendar but to see them both called off is frustrating given the run we were on.
“We’ve trained well over the last couple of weeks but have had to say to the lads that we almost have to start all over again when it comes to creating momentum because whilst we’re still on a nine game winning run in the league, not having played for so long means it’s almost been like a mini pre-season.
“If these had been home games I’m confident they’d have been played but clubs at this level don’t have the luxury of a full-time groundsman like we do and pitches are suffering as a result.
“We’ve got two big league games coming up against Atherstone and then Walsall Wood later in the month so we are really keen to see this match and then the Whaley Bridge tie in the Derbyshire Senior Cup go ahead.”
Striker Alex Marshall will be suspended for Saturday’s game, his one -game ban having been pushed back twice now given the postponements.
“Without being disrespectful to Alvis, if you’re going to miss your top scorer you’d want it to be in a game against the bottom of the table side.
“He’ll play 90 minutes against Whaley Bridge in order to get him ready for the Atherstone game, although if Saturday is called off too the Atherstone game will be the one he’ll miss.”
On the Alvis game itself, Chettle says he’s keen to see a big following head to Warwickshire.
He said: “We want to make it like a home game. Alvis haven’t scored a goal at home all season so if we can get a good following behind us and are in the groove then we can overcome any rustiness and win the game, but it’s a potential banana skin so we can take nothing for granted at all.”
Tuesday’s Senior Cup tie at home to Whaley Bridge will see Ilkeston looking to build on a victory at Glossop North End in the last round, with Chettle adding: “Given our lack of games we’ll have to see who needs minutes and it’ll also depend on what happens on Saturday as to who plays, but it’s a big game for us so we’re looking forward to it.”