Chettle’s hunt for new faces

Steve Chettle
Steve Chettle

Ilkeston Town boss Steve Chettle feels the time could now be right to begin freshening up his squad ahead of the crucial end to the season.

With 17 league games still to play plus a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final against Alfreton Town to be rearranged following its postponement on Tuesday, the Robins squad looks set to be stretched as the schedule gets ever tighter.

And with top scorer Alex Marshall still set to begin a three-match suspension, Chettle could well be about to delve into the transfer market.

He said: “We’ve given the lads we’ve got here already a fair go at it now but we only have around 18 players 
and sometimes freshening things up doesn’t do any harm at all.

“But the players we bring in have to be the right fit.

“If they’re players we don’t know already then we get character references on them and ensure they’ll be what we need here to make us stronger.

“We brought in Jamie Hannis last week as cover for Ian Deakin who was in the States at the weekend but in the end the game was called off anyway, and he’d have been jet-lagged for the Alfreton game so Jamie could well have played then too but again we fell foul of the weather.

“But Jamie is someone I’ve known since he was 16 and who I think is a good fit should Deaks not be available.

“The same goes for Ben Morris and Jordan Wheatley who were also here when I was here before.

“There may be other familiar faces we can call upon but if not we’ll use what knowledge we have between us to identify the right players.

“It won’t be easy, as clubs won’t be willing to part with their best players at this stage of the season, but if the right player is available at the right price then we’ll try and get something in place.”

Last weekend’s game at Coventry Copsewood was lost to a waterlogged pitch, as was the Alfreton game, meaning Ilkeston are next due to be in action at home to Heather St Johns this Saturday.

That will be followed by a two big away trips to fellow promotion contenders Leicester Road on Tuesday night and then Hinckley four days later, although the Alfreton cup tie may take preference to the Leicester Road game 
should it be arranged for next week.

Chettle said: “I want to get the Alfreton game played as soon as possible and given the county cups take priority over league games it’s possible we can sort something for next week. If not then it’s the first of two big games for us.

“We need to be catching up the teams above us and I’m also keen to see our away form continue to improve as well as it’s been much better since we got over our difficult start on the road.

“Not playing hasn’t helped us but we’re continuing to train hard when we can given we use a 3G surface.

“I’m keen for us to play on Saturday but as always we’re in the hands of the weather.”