Rampant Robins prepare for tricky double-header

Ilkeston's David Morgan, left, battles for possession against Whitby
Ilkeston's David Morgan, left, battles for possession against Whitby

Ilkeston FC are preparing for two tough games in 48 hours as they aim to continue their remarkable unbeaten run.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Whitby Town means it’s now 15 games in all competitions since the Robins last lost, with Kevin Wilson’s men remaining second in the table.

Next they face a first ever trip to Halesowen Town on Saturday before a home game with FA Cup heroes Blyth Spartans next Monday night.

And manager Wilson is keen to see the momentum continue, particularly with another big game coming up on January 31 at fellow promotion hopefuls FC United of Manchester.

He said: “The fact that this run has continued despite having lost so many key players to other clubs is outstanding. We’ve had more sales than Marks and Spencer here recently but the form has remained and the players deserve great credit.

“These two games will be tough. Halesowen don’t give a lot of goals away and are good on set plays, including having a dangerous long throw in their armoury, and Blyth have obviously had a good season in the cup and could still challenge for at least the play-offs if they win a lot of their games in hand.

“But we’re more or less averaging four points every two games at the moment which is what I always try and aim at and I see no reason why we can’t get at least that on Saturday and Monday.”

With regard to last Saturday’s draw against Whitby, Wilson felt satisfied with a point.

He said: “We didn’t really get going in the first-half and although we were much better in the second, we lacked the fluency of some recent games.

“Rai (Simons) did well to chase the ball down and got the luck he deserved for the equaliser.

“Whitby are one of those teams I think should be up challenging for the play-off spots as they’re always tough to beat and gave us a difficult game at their place too, so a draw isn’t the worst result for us and keeps us in second place.

“We haven’t lost at home since October 27 but some of the displays here haven’t been as good as on the road which is something we still need to sort out.

“We know they can’t play well every week but sometimes the lads fare better away from home where teams come onto us rather than the other way round.”

Wilson gave a long-awaited debut to former Arsenal man Arinse Uade against Whitby, whose international clearance finally arrived on Thursday following his spell in Finland.

“Arinse’s played a lot of development football which is very different to what he’ll experience in the Northern Premier League, so he’ll need time to adapt and also get match fit.

“It was perhaps harsh on Luke Shaw who has done really well but it was something we wanted to have a look at. Sometimes you need to give one or two of them a rest as we’ve done with the likes of Luke and Akil Wright as they’ve played a lot of games.”

Meanwhile, Ilkeston will travel to Gresley FC in the semi-finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday, February 10, meaning the away match at Blyth Spartans has now been moved to Tuesday, March 3.