Duffers' Diaries: It’s hard to see anything but a bright future at the NMG

Ilkeston fans congratulate Chris Shaw after the win at Pershore last weekend. The mood amongst fans remains high as plans for the future are revealed.
Ilkeston fans congratulate Chris Shaw after the win at Pershore last weekend. The mood amongst fans remains high as plans for the future are revealed.

Much was made of Steve Chettle’s search for a striker and having ended up bringing in two, they’ve produced the goods quickly.

Malachi Lavelle-Moore is a familiar face having done well for the Robins under the Ilkeston FC guise last season, most notably scoring the best goal the world has ever seen at Coalville Town for a 90th minute winner.

There’s no doubt he is of a far superior quality to most strikers at step six and it will be a massive boost if the Robins can keep hold of him for longer than just this season because I think he’ll get a hatful of goals if he can stay fit and focused.

He’s already proved that with his four in two games so far and with Montel Gibson having now departed, he’s proving an able replacement.

Mark Green is a lesser-known quantity on the whole although he’s been knocking them in for Borrowash in the EMCL, also at step six, so will be a good option.

With Alex Marshall and Tim Hopkinson also having scored lots of goals, one has to believe the Robins’ attacking options couldn’t be much better at the moment.

It seemingly remains a case of who will win the battle for second spot given Walsall Wood are showing no signs of surrendering their lead and nor should we expect them too.

They’ve been the most consistent side all season and will be worthy champions, returning to the division they were relegated from only last season.

Looking ahead to this weekend, much is being made of Ilkeston’s attempts to pull in a big crowd at the New Manor Ground.

It’s rare for players at step six to play in front of four-figure gates, which is the kind of target Ilkeston have for Saturday, so you’d hope they won’t freeze under the spotlight. Indeed, it should be enough to motivate them in what is a great chance to showcase to those less frequent visitors to the NMG that football at this level is just as exciting as at higher levels.

Cue a 0-0 bore draw.

Seriously though, I hope people continue to buy into what the Robins are doing because with the battering football in the town has taken over the last ten years, stability and a bright future is so important and in a town this size, a good football team run well could be a huge boost on so many levels.

That’s been proved in the past before both of the previous incarnations went bust - it’s just a case of convincing people this isn’t going to be another short-term dream that will ultimately fail.

I was abroad last week so couldn’t attend the fans’ forum but having read with interest what was said, it’s hard not to feel enthusiastic towards the club’s overall targets.

Love them or hate them, a 3G surface will mean the NMG becomes a facility far more of use to the community than it already is, and the huge news that the social club is back in the club’s hands will be music to the ears of so many and provide huge revenue opportunities moving forward.

On and off the pitch, life at the New Manor Ground looks good. Yes, we’ve said that before in years gone by, but the overall consensus seems to be that Alan Hardy, Anthony Redwood and all at the NMG are working so hard to ensure that this time a long and successful future is secured and having covered the various trials and tribulations of football in this town for the last 12 years, I desperately hope they’ll succeed.