Chettle: “Time to get the club back where it belongs.”

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Steve Chettle says he is relishing the challenge of getting Ilkeston Town FC back to the higher echelons of non-league football having been installed as the new club’s first ever manager last week.

After Alan Hardy completed his purchase of the club following Ilkeston FC’s demise, he appointed Chettle and player/assistant Ian Deakin as the new management team.

For Chettle, it’s a return to familiar surroundings having played for the original Ilkeston Town towards the end of his career and then been assistant manager to Kevin Wilson for Ilkeston FC.

And having left Nuneaton Town to return to Derbyshire, he’s thrilled to be back.

He said: “It all happened quite quickly - it was only a week before I was appointed that I had the call asking if I’d do it and although it was hard to leave Nuneaton having put a lot of work in there, it just seemed the right fit.

“I’ve a great affinity to Ilkeston having played and coached here, as well as it having been my son Callum’s first club, so those connections made it a much easier decision.

“There’s a lot of work to be done in a short space of time but my focus is solely on getting this club promoted and back on the map, and eventually back to where it belongs.”

With only one promotion spot available from the Midlands Football League Division One and also the league above it, there will be plenty of pressure on the Robins to be the best if they are to progress back up the divisions.

The top three sides last season all scored well over 100 goals, emphasising just how important it will be for Ilkeston to hit the ground running.

But Chettle says that pressure won’t be a problem to deal with.

He said: “There is of course pressure involved - there aren’t any play-offs to fall back on and it’s a competitive league - but the challenge has been set and we have to show we’re up for it.

“Ian Deakin has good knowledge of this level and has been a great help in terms of picking players who can do a job for us.

“It’s a new level to me but when it comes down to it, it’s all football and if the processes are right and you do things correctly then it doesn’t matter what level you’re at.”

With regard to his playing squad, at the time of going to press only goalkeeper Deakin, full-back Jamie Walker and winger Billy Bennett have been confirmed as having signed, with Chettle keen to run the rule over several more players in the coming days.

He added: “We’ve got a game at Underwood on Wednesday night where we’ll have several trialists on show and we then have a game at Clifton All Whites on Friday night.

“Obviously we’re a bit behind when it comes to having squads finalised but with a couple of games and some training sessions between now and the opening game at Uttoxeter on August 5, I’m confident we’ll be ready.”