Three games into their busy pre-season schedule of matches and Ilkeston FC boss Kevin Wilson believes it’s so far so good from his players.
The Robins followed up a 0-0 draw in their first pre-season game at home to Steve McLaren’s Derby County by turning in a sterling display against visitors Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Over 3,000 spectators were at the New Manor Ground to see Stuart Pearce’s first game as new Forest manager.
And they would have been impressed by what they saw from the home side, who gave as good as they got, created some good chances and were still at level pegging with their illustrious visitors as the game entered its final stage.
But four goals in the final 13 minutes saw Forest came away with what looked, from the scoreline alone, to be a comfortable victory.
However, Kevin Wilson was more than happy with what he saw from his side as they came through another tough test in impressive fashion.
He explained: “Pre-season is what it is.
“You set different challenges for different games. We’ve got a wide range of matches against teams from different levels and I think that’s as it should be.
“Against Forest on Saturday, we set a target of keeping the ball better than we did against Derby.
“To go almost 170 minutes without conceding a goal against Forest and Derby was good to see.
“We kept our shape well, showed good fitness and good attitude, kept possession better and it was all about getting minutes into the legs of the players at this time of the pre-season.
“We also created a number of chances that we didn’t take and had a couple of decent appeals for a penalty too.”
Wilson was speaking to the Advertiser ahead of Tuesday’s home clash with Burton Albion, which Ilkeston won 1-0 in a confident display thanks to Rob Duffy’s third minute penalty.
They next travel to local rivals Long Eaton United this Saturday before Premier League new boys Leicester City bring their first team to the New Manor Ground on Tuesday night (July 22), kicking off at 7.30pm.
Kevin Wilson continued: “When you try and get games against teams of the size of Derby, Forest and Leicester, it’s all about when they can get to you, but it just so happened that we had Derby and Forest as our first two and particularly with it being Stuart Pearce’s first game as manager, it was a good occasion.
“It’s brought a good level of revenue into the club from those two games, which is always a bonus.
“I thought we did well on Saturday.
“Once we switched it around a bit with 15 minutes to go, we got caught out a little bit at the back through inexperience but it’s part of the process of learning and pre-season is all about focusing towards August 16.
“There will be different challenges now for us at Long Eaton on Saturday but it’s still an important game. Different targets will be set and then it’s onto the Leicester game next Tuesday.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the progress so far in pre-season and we’ll challenge the lads to keep that going now between and the start of the league season.”