Wilson encouraged by youngsters’ performances

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Ilkeston FC boss Kevin Wilson says he has been encouraged by the displays put in by the club’s younger players during the Robins’ current injury crisis.

With several key members of the squad missing, Wilson has been forced to blood a number of teenagers in recent matches, and while narrow defeats were suffered at Chorley on Saturday and at home to Rushall Olympic on Tuesday, he was keen to take the positives from those games.

He said: “On Monday I think the average age of the squad was about 19 or 20, with the oldest being 22 and a 16-yea-old coming off the bench.

“But I felt in the circumstances the performance was very encouraging.

“We moved the ball well and I feel we deserved all three points, as Rushall didn’t really create much other than their goal and we put a lot of pressure on in the second-half.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our younger players and people can now see why. We’ve already had one player go into league football and others could well follow on the evidence seen so far.

“But you always need that blend of youth and experience and it’s been obvious in the last couple of games that the experience element has been missing.

“We’re not far away at the moment, emphasised by the fact that no team has outplayed us yet, or beaten us heavily.”

The Robins make their FA Cup debut on Saturday at Division One South leaders Coalville Town.

The sides twice drew 0-0 last season in the league and Wilson is expecting a tough game, particularly with several players still set to miss out.

Gary Ricketts has a thigh problem having recovered from his initial rib injury, while Russell Cooke, Daryll Thomas and Laurie Wilson are all still unlikely to figure, though the manager still needs to re-assess things before the weekend.

He said: “Some lads are quite close to returning but there’s no point risking them until they’re fully fit. I’ve no fears in using the youngsters if need be.

“It’s an opportunity to get a foothold in the FA Cup but we know it won’t be easy.”