Robins start to catch the eye as festive period looms

Ilkeston FC striker Gary Ricketts (centre) is congratulated by Aaron Hooton (left) and Joe Maguire after scoring his second goal at AFC Fylde on Saturday
Ilkeston FC striker Gary Ricketts (centre) is congratulated by Aaron Hooton (left) and Joe Maguire after scoring his second goal at AFC Fylde on Saturday

Kevin Wilson believes Ilkeston FC are suddenly starting to turn a few heads as they continue to rise up the Evo-Stik Premier Division table.

The Robins made it three league wins in a row with a 3-2 success at AFC Fylde on Saturday, climbing to 13th place in the process.

And having initially spent the early part of the season in the bottom three, manager Wilson thinks others will now be very wary of the Robins’ presence.

He said: “Everyone will be talking about us now given the wins we’re getting and the way we’re playing.

“We’re on a great run and the momentum is superb going into the busy festive period.

“We had to make changes as we simply didn’t start well enough and the loan market has been successful for us this year, with the likes of Jack Eades, Greg Tempest, Jide Maduako, Steven Smith and Curtis Thompson all having come in and done very well.

“The confidence gained from this run can only be a good thing and teams can no longer afford to underestimate us.”

With regard to the loan signings, Wilson is unsure whether centre-half Maduako will return to the New Manor Ground given his loan spell ends this week, but he was more positive about Notts County youngsters Thompson and Tempest.

“We’ll see what Leicester decide to do with Jide, firstly because they’ll have under-21 matches starting up again after Christmas but also because nowadays we have to deal with agents who may decide that given players do well at one level, they may try and get them a move higher,” he said.

“But I’m delighted we’ve got a good relationship with both Leicester and Notts County and I’m quite confident the two Notts lads will return.

“If players don’t come back then it’s part of my job to go out and find suitable replacements.”

Regarding the win over Fylde on Saturday, Wilson felt his side made hard work for themselves at times but ultimately deserved the three points.

He said: “I was disappointed with the two goals we conceded as it was a bit like we were getting back to old ways, namely not going with runners and letting them get back into the game.

“But we showed lots of character and played some good football in the second-half, having also started the game well and got ourselves in front.

“We got blocks in, stopped crosses and Chris Martin in goal did well too. I’m told it was the first time they’d lost a league game at home on a Saturday since Dave Challinor took over 14 months ago, so that tells you a lot.”

Nantwich Town are next up for Ilkeston this weekend, with centre-half Joe Maguire serving a one-match suspension.

Wilson added: “We’ll take this busy period game by game. Nantwich will come with a similar system to what we faced at Fylde but we will be aware of what can hurt them and hopefully get another good result.”