Steve Chettle has said a few times now that matches between the top four or five sides in the MFL Division One will most likely decide the outcome of the title race and it’s fair to say he’s right.
Ilkeston welcome Atherstone Town to the New Manor Ground this weekend, a team with an identical playing record to the Robins aside from having a plus five goal difference on Chettle’s men.
Someone with more time on their hands than I’ve got could probably put together a comprehensive spreadsheet on just how many teams from, say, outside the top five, have taken points off of those inside it, but from what I’ve seen so far it can’t be many.
Therefore, this weekend’s game, and the one the following week away at arguably the title favourites, Walsall Wood, are massive for the Robins.
As I’ve said here before, winning the title would still have to be considered a bonus given the early stages of life Ilkeston Town are in, but given where they are now, they’d kick themselves if for whatever reason they can’t sustain a challenge or lose games they are expected, or deserve, to win.
As I write this ahead of the Whaley Bridge cup tie on Tuesday, losing seems to be something Ilkeston have forgotten how to do, so let’s hope that continues for a while longer, as it’ll be a real jostle for the top spot come the end of April and the Robins will want to be in it and not playing dead rubbers for a few weeks.
The squad looks strong to me - I don’t really see any need for major additions at this stage unless injuries hit and Chets is never one to want to change a winning team unless he has to, although on that basis and at this rate, the current incumbents of the respective shirts will be the starting line-up well into their grandparenting years.
Let’s just enjoy the ride because having seen a team losing every week this time last year, I think I know which of the scenarios Ilkeston football watchers prefer!