I held off writing this week’s column until the result of the Whitby game was known and, with the final whistle having just gone, it seems Ilkeston were ultimately a bit unlucky to lose it 2-1.
A spirited second-half nearly got them a point, but their problem at the moment seems to be turning those good 30-45 minute spells into longer ones that might give them more chance of winning games.
It’s got to be remedied soon as when they catch up on games played they don’t really want to still be where they were before they’d even kicked a ball, but at the moment that’s exactly where they remain.
The loan acquisition of Rhys Dolan this week was an interesting one and certainly a positive from Ilkeston’s point of view.
As has been noted by one or two fans, Dolan wasn’t necessarily someone who was badly needed given Rory Coleman and Jaylon Bather, among others, are available at left-back, but both of those players can play in other positions too meaning Dolan may well get some action.
It also seems Dolan was offered to Ilkeston rather than Paul Holland actively seeking him out, so it would have been daft to turn down the chance to get a decent player into the squad for a bit.
It works well for both parties, with Dolan probably needing some first team football as a relief from the amount of academy and U21 matches he’s probably been playing at Barnsley.
There’s no doubt Ilkeston are still short of two or three quality players, as despite the odd good half here and there they aren’t really looking like they’re going to get too many positive results at the moment.
I’ve only witnessed one game so far and that was the opener against Ashton United, but by all accounts, and according to Holland himself, some more experience is probably required and more quality up front, probably to work alongside Anthony Dwyer rather than replace him, is certainly needed too.
The late start and subsequent rustiness can only really be used in mitigation for so long. Soon enough it’ll be a case of the management, the players and those higher up being under pressure to start getting the blend right again.
I don’t know how the financial situation is at Ilkeston now all of the shenanigans with the Northern Premier League appears to have been put to bed. There’s still been no statement from the NPL, by the way, but I won’t get started on them again.
I’d assume the money from Sheffield United has been paid by now, but if it hasn’t then one has to wonder what on earth the Blades are up to given they’ll now have football debts, and we know what trouble Ilkeston got into for that.
The money will be a sizeable amount and although I gather a portion of it was paid in the last couple of weeks, I’m yet to get any indication from the club that the rest of it has come and that won’t be helping them one bit.
That said, one would have to assume they’ve got enough in the bank to run smoothly enough on all fronts and that any remaining cash will be something of a bonus that will go into improving things across the board.
Time will tell on that, but in the meantime the Robins need a good win to boost the morale a bit.
Barwell will be a tough nut to crack on Saturday in the FA Cup, as they usually are. Former Robin Jordan Wheatley is on loan there from Nuneaton at the moment, which is probably not what he saw coming when he rejected the chance to go to Mansfield in favour of Nuneaton at the start of the summer, but I don’t know that he’ll play given Kevin Wilson might want to avoid him being cup tied.
Ilkeston will be underdogs on Saturday, no doubt about it, but a win could do wonders and give the coffers another little boost in the process.
Depending on the Barwell result and if a replay is needed, Hednesford will then visit next Tuesday, another side who have started well and who will be fancied to turn the Robins over.
I’d hope, by then, another new face or two might be involved that will perhaps shift those odds more in Ilkeston’s favour.