Robins make their first three signings of the summer

Kyle Dixon was at Coalville Town last season. (Photo: Craig Lamont)
Kyle Dixon was at Coalville Town last season. (Photo: Craig Lamont)

Ilkeston Town have signed three new players as they prepare for life in the Midland Football League Premier Division.

Having already announced that all but two members of last season's squad have been retained, the Robins have brought in the new faces to give manager Steve Chettle good options ahead of the pre-season period.

Goalkeeper Liam Mitchell. (Photo by Craig Lamont)

Goalkeeper Liam Mitchell. (Photo by Craig Lamont)

Midfielder Kyle Dixon, 26, started out at Notts County as a scholar, which led to a two-year professional contract. After spells with Boston United, Basford United and North Ferriby United, he spent time with Coalville Town in the Evo-Stik Premier Division last season.

Goalkeeper Liam Mitchell, 25, began his career with Nottingham Forest before spending five years at Notts County, including three as a professional. He has also played for Tamworth, Shepshed, Sheffield FC, Dunkirk and Carlton Town.

Teenage midfielder Ryan Wheatley spent the first year of his scholarship in the Ilkeston FC Academy and was part of the academy squad which stepped up to the first team for the second half of the 2016/17 season. His brother Jordan was a regular in both Ilkeston FC's and Ilkeston Town's squads over the last three seasons.

Chettle said: “The coaching staff and I had sat down before the end of last season to talk about possible targets for the new season. We knew we had a group which had done well last season after a shaky start. Almost all of the squad wanted to stay, and they know we are going in the right direction.

Ryan Wheatley came through the Ilkeston FC Academy. (Photo by Craig Lamont)

Ryan Wheatley came through the Ilkeston FC Academy. (Photo by Craig Lamont)

“Liam Mitchell is a goalkeeper who has played locally for Dunkirk and he has football league experience. Kyle also has football league experience and played in the Evo-Stik Premier last season with Coalville, while Ryan was a product of the old academy and was at Long Eaton last year.

“We’re trying to add quality in certain areas, but like I’ve said to the squad in various meetings and to the new players, the best eleven will start on August 4 and the next best five will be on the bench and the rest will have to scrap for a place, so it’s going to be competitive.

“I’ve got 18 players from last season who wanted to come back, I’ve added three more today, but it’s a free hit for me in pre-season, I can go into the games and look at who does really well, and I’ll pick them on merit for the start of the season.

"No one has a divine right to a starting place in the new season. People like Tom Marshall, who won Players and Managers Player of the Year, his brother Alex who got the Golden Boot, Jamie Walker who got Goal of the Season - they’re at the forefront of my mind, but if people play better than them pre-season, they’ll miss out.”