Robins ready to host big six-pointer

Steve Chettle. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Steve Chettle. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Steve Chettle says Ilkeston Town couldn’t be in any better shape to go into their crucial clash at home to Walsall Wood this weekend.

The Robins have won their last 11 games, albeit the most recent was on penalties against Glossop North End in the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

And with a big crowd expected at the New Manor Ground for Saturday’s game, manager Chettle hopes that run will continue.

He said: “We won’t win every game, we’re realistic about that, but we are in great form and the momentum couldn’t be any better.

“We’re buoyant and fear nobody at the moment which can only bode well. Walsall Wood have lost their last three games, including a county cup tie this week, so it’ll be interesting to see what frame of mind they’re in.

“We haven’t had the chance to get them watched - we’d planned to last week but unfortunately the person we’d asked to do it fell ill - but that’s the way it is at this level sometimes and it’s often more about doing what you’re used to and what you do well and that can often be enough.

“Most of their team has experience at much higher levels, particularly in the Evo-Stik League, so we’re in for a tough game but are in great shape.”

Chettle says that a virus has affected the squad in recent days which forced him to slightly change his selection plans for the game at Glossop.

He said: “One or two have or have had colds so some were on the bench on Tuesday while others couldn’t play at all, meaning we couldn’t go with entirely the same players we’d used in previous rounds as I’d wanted to.

“But having not played for ten days it gave us a chance to give a few 90 minutes of action ahead of Saturday so in some ways it was a positive.”

On the Glossop game itself, Chettle was delighted to have seen off a side from two levels higher than the Robins, the game ending 1-1 before a penalty shoot-out saw Ilkeston progress.

He said: “It was another good test put in front of us that we’ve come through and another box ticked in terms of the penalty shoot-out because it showed we have good mental strength too.

“Glossop are two leagues above us but I didn’t think there was a massive difference between the sides. We both had spells controlling the game and over the 90 minutes a draw was fair.

“They should be beating us given we’re lower down the pyramid but we made the gap look non-existent at times so to be in the hat for the next round is very pleasing and it made the long drive home much easier!”

Ilkeston will now play host to Whaley Bridge of the Cheshire League in the quarter finals of the competition although a date for the tie is yet to be confirmed.