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Ilkeston all set for tough double-header on the road

Paul Holland will take his side to Warrington and then Whitby in the next week.
Paul Holland will take his side to Warrington and then Whitby in the next week.

Paul Holland says his Ilkeston FC side will have no fear as they prepare for two tough away trips over the next week.

The Robins head to newly-promoted Warrington on Saturday before the rearranged visit to Whitby Town next Tuesday night.

And with just two league games under their belts so far, Holland is keen to start climbing the table.

He said: “Warrington will be a good challenge for us. I spoke to Matlock’s managers about them last week and they said they are a very big and direct side, not dissimilar to sides we’ve already faced.

“The Whitby game is obviously a tricky one on a Tuesday night but we’ll have all day to prepare and will aim to get the trip out of our legs as soon as we can.

“We hold no fear of anyone and go into every game believing we can get something. If we’re not up for the fight, we’ll struggle.”

Warrington exited the FA Cup at Workington last weekend while Whitby needed a replay to overcome Winsford United.

Holland says his players’ fitness levels are improving all of the time following their three-week spell without any match action due to the club’s suspension.

He said: “We’re getting there and will continue to do so over the next two or three weeks. These lads are young and fit and they are working hard in training so stamina levels are certainly improving quickly.”

Ilkeston overcame East Midlands Counties League side Ashby Ivanhoe 6-0 in the FA Cup last Saturday to set up a second qualifying round against either Evesham United or Barwell, the result of their replay not known at the time the Advertiser went to press.

Holland said: “I was pleased with how we went about things on Saturday because we were rightly expected to win and had to do a professional job.

“We expected them to come at us in the first 20 minutes or so but I then changed the formation and our fitness and quality eventually came through.

“Ashby were a credit to their league and we wish them well for the rest of the season.

“It’s a tough draw in the next round whoever we face. I’ll be at the replay to have a look at both teams, but if you want to go far in these competitions you have to endure tough fixtures at some point so we’ll prepare accordingly.”

The Robins were heavily fined by the Northern Premier League last week for failing to fulfill fixtures during the NPL-imposed suspension at the start of the season.

No official figure has been confirmed by the NPL but it is understood to be in the region of £3,500.

A registration embargo which was put in place when Ilkeston began playing again remains in place but Holland expects it to be lifted before the weekend, which could mean a new arrival or two into the squad ahead of the Warrington game.