More players come and go as Strachan fine tunes his squad

Ilkeston midfielder Mike Williams (centre) gets airborne against Chesterfield on Tuesday. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Ilkeston midfielder Mike Williams (centre) gets airborne against Chesterfield on Tuesday. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Gavin Strachan revelled in some encouraging pre-season displays this week and said he is close to finalising his Ilkeston FC squad ahead of the new campaign.

Tuesday night saw Ilkeston fall 3-1 to League One side Chesterfield but put in a spirited display against the Spireites’ first team squad.

That game had been preceded by a 2-0 win at home to Bedworth United on Saturday and a victory by a similar scoreline at Rossington Main two days earlier.

Head coach Strachan said: “I thought against Chesterfield we put in our best display of pre-season so far.

“There are a few lessons we need to learn with regard to how a couple of the goals we conceded came about, but overall I was really pleased with most of what we did.”

Strachan boosted his attacking options before the game against Bedworth on Saturday with the additions of strikers Jonathan Edwards and Dan Udoh.

Edwards, 19, has joined on a season-long loan from Peterborough United while Udoh, 18, has appeared for the likes of Kidderminster Harriers, Worcester City and Grays Athletic and had impressed in early friendlies for the Robins.

Strachan said: “Jonathan is a player who realistically we had no right to get given his quality and other clubs higher up were in for him, but he’s a powerful presence and can run and chase as well as score goals which will clearly be a big asset to us.

“Dan really wanted to come here which was refreshing, having floated around a few clubs after doing his apprenticeship at Stevenage Borough. He’s deserved a deal for his performances early in pre-season and he and Jonathan will complement each other really well.”

Midfielder Charlie Coulson was then announced as having signed on Thursday, another player to have previously worked with Strachan at Peterborough.

Of the other trialists Strachan has seen in action he is keen to do deals for one or two but doesn’t think he needs to do too much more business before the season commences with a home game against Skelmersdale United on August 15.

He said: “There’s no point in hanging on for the sake of it if we’re happy with what we’ve got.

“I’m keen to bring in a couple of the trialists who have done well the squad is very close to being the one we’ll start the season with.“

Meanwhile, the expected exits of midfield duo David Morgan and Callum Chettle were confirmed on Tuesday, a ‘substantial fee with sizeable sell-on clauses’ having been paid by Nuneaton Town for their services.

The duo follow former boss Kevin Wilson and several players to Warwickshire, with Strachan adding: “We didn’t want to stand in their way and good luck to them. This frees up more money for us to use on strengthening the squad further.”

Next up for Ilkeston are three games away at sides who will ply their trade in Evo-Stik Division One South next season.

Gresley FC host the Robins on Saturday before trips to Basford United next Tuesday night and then the final friendly at Belper Town on August 8.