ILKESTON FC will play their final pre-season friendly this weekend as preparations for the club’s first ever season near completion.
Mickleover Sports, who will play a division above the Robins next season, will provide the opposition on Saturday (3pm) in a match Ilkeston boss Kevin Wilson is likely to use as a full dress rehearsal for the opening day clash with Goole AFC a week later.
And Wilson is keen for his squad to prove to him they are worth a place in the starting eleven for the big kick-off.
He said: “The countdown is well and truly underway and it’s been made clear to the players that the onus is on them to win my vote.
“It’s going to be a fantastic day when we launch the new club on August 13 and everyone wants to be a part of it. But only 11 players can figure in the starting line-up - and it’s up to them.
“To be honest, I already have a very good idea who they will be but that doesn’t mean to say that good performances won’t force me to change my mind.
“The simple message is that people are playing for places. We’ve now got good competition right through the team and that’s the way it should be if we’re going to be successful.”
Meanwhile, the Goole AFC match has been designated ‘all ticket’ as the Robins expect a large crowd to attend the historic encounter.
Tickets, which cost £7 for adults, £4 concessions and £1 for under-16s accompanied by an adult, went on sale before last night’s (Wednesday) clash with Mansfield Town and will be available right up to kick-off on the opening day.
They are currently on sale at the Sir John Warren pub on Ilkeston Market Place, the Newdigate Arms pub in West Hallam, and on weekdays between 10am and 4pm at the club’s offices.
Anyone who presents a match ticket at the gate ahead of the Mickleover game will receive half price entry to the final friendly.
Club chairman Dave Mantle said: “The feedback we’ve had is that people who wouldn’t normally consider coming to a game recognise the significance of the occasion and they don’t want to let it pass them by.
“That’s exactly the reaction we were hoping for and if we can make it a really special afternoon - and people enjoy the atmosphere - hopefully they will want to come back for more.”
You can win a pair of tickets to the match with Goole AFC courtesy of the Ilkeston Advertiser.
See page 31 for details.
l The Ilkeston FC Supporters Group will have a stall on the Market Place on Saturday where tickets for the Goole match and club merchandise will be on sale.
The stall will be open from 9.30am until around 2.30pm, ahead of the match with Mickleover Sports.
l The Robins completed another summer signing this week with the capture of former Corby Town right-back/centre-half Joe Wilcox.
He made an impressive appearance in a friendly at Oadby Town on Saturday, where two more goals from Darryl Thomas, who has been in fine scoring form during pre-season, led Ilkeston to a 2-0 victory.
For a report on last night’s clash with Mansfield Town, see our website at www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk.