ILKESTON FC will begin the season with a home game against a fellow promoted side after the Evo-Stik Premier League fixtures were announced this week.
The Robins will host AFC Fylde on August 18, the Lancashire outfit having won the Division One North title by seven points last season.
And though Ilkeston boss Kevin Wilson is pleased with a home opener, he’s well aware of the challenge.
He said: “Fylde are a bit of a mini-Fleetwood at the moment in that they’ve got good backing financially and deserved to win their division last year.
“So it’ll be a tough start but with us being on a high from our own promotion it should generate a decent crowd and atmosphere.”
Ilkeston’s pre-season campaign, meanwhile, got underway in style with a 6-0 win at Leek Town on Saturday.
Jack Watts, Daryll Thomas, Russell Peel, Andrew Osei-Siribour and Gary Ricketts got on the scoresheet, as did young striker Alex Ford, 19, who this week signed from AFC Beeston.
Wilson said: “To get a clean sheet, score six goals and have most of the squad playing 45 minutes was very pleasing.
“We arranged an extra game at Lichfield on Tuesday (17th) to get a few players some more minutes in and then I’m aiming to have some playing for longer against Sheffield United on Wednesday.”
On Ford, Wilson added: “He’s a tall striker and will learn a lot from the likes of Gary Ricketts. He’s a bit Peter Crouch-esque given his stature and the fact he has good feet, so I’m excited to have him on board.”
The Sheffield United game was played after the Advertiser went to press but details can be found at www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk.
Ilkeston host Notts County on Saturday before Burton Albion come to the NMG next Tuesday night.