Ilkeston FC sign ex-Sheffield Wednesday prospect Luke Foster
Paul Holland has moved quickly to complete his third major signing since taking over the Ilkeston FC reins on Monday.
Experienced defender Luke Foster has committed himself to the Robins for next season.
Foster has spent the last two years at Southport, making 64 appearances and netting six goals into the bargain.
In February, he moved to Harrogate Town, where he stayed until the end of the season.
Foster said: “Paul rang me pretty much out of the blue to ask what my plans were for next season, I had a few things in the pipeline but nothing was concrete.
“I didn’t expect the conversation to go the way it did, it was really refreshing the way he spoke about the club and its youth policy.
“What really sold it to me was the coaching aspect of the job, I wasn’t expecting to get that at this stage of my career.
“The all-round package was really exciting to me, which is why I couldn’t wait to sign.”
Foster started out as a trainee in Sheffield Wednesday’s youth system, whilst there he spent time out on loan at Scarborough and Alfreton Town.
He has spent the majority of his career in League Two and the higher end of the non-league pyramid, making over 350 league and cup appearances and scoring 18 goals.
Between 2007-2010, he had his most settled period, when he made 101 league appearances for Oxford United in the Football Conference.
Foster has appeared at the New Manor Ground once before. In 2012, whilst on trial with Sheffield United, he came on as a second half substitute in the 1-1 draw during pre-season.
“I’ve played a lot of football, in a lot of different leagues and had a decent career out of it,” he said.
“I’ve learnt a lot along the way, I’ve played in the scrappy side of things and also the nice bigger stadiums and bigger occasions as well, so I’ve got a good mix of experience and it will be nice to be able to pass on the knowledge I’ve built up over the years.
“It’s not always about nice football, they’ve got to learn that there are times when you have to scrap to win games.”
He will also be joining the club as a coach to the academy.
“Getting the chance to be a coach was a big part in my decision to sign for Ilkeston, to be fair it was probably the deciding factor,” said Foster.
“I love the idea of playing for the first team as I’ll be playing alongside younger players and it will be good to teach them in the game as well as in training.
“I relish the idea of playing and coaching, I want to carry on playing but the coaching is a big thing for me and a great opportunity.”
He added: “Playing alongside younger players keeps you feeling younger, you’re around energetic and fit players, I think I’ll have to put that little bit more effort into training to keep up with them, but on the flip side I’ll be thinking that at times, I’ll be able to use my head and physical presence rather than my legs to keep ahead of the opposition.”
And Foster had a message for the fans.
“Hopefully you’ll welcome me with open arms and I’ll be able to prove why the manager has brought me to the club,” he said.
“I’d like to think that we can have a good, positive season and you never know what could happen.
“Mix the good young players already at the club with some older, more experienced heads and it could be a good season. Just get supporting us and keep us going.”