Ricketts and Richards are released by Ilkeston FC

Gary Ricketts and Matt Richards (pictured below) have been released by Ilkeston FC.
Gary Ricketts and Matt Richards (pictured below) have been released by Ilkeston FC.

Two of the most influential players in Ilkeston FC’s short history have been released by the New Manor Ground club.

Gary Ricketts and Matt Richards have been informed by manager Kevin Wilson that their services are no longer required as the Robins continue to prepare for the 2014/15 season.

Player/coach Ricketts was a regular scorer for both Ilkeston Town and Ilkeston FC while Richards played a pivotal role in midfield during each of the new Robins’ first three seasons but has suffered with injury problems over the last few months.

And with the club’s ethos firmly set on bringing young players through its academy system and recruiting similarly youthful new signings, the duo’s departures will free up necessary resources.

Boss Wilson told the club’s website: “I think it’s true to say that we wouldn’t have achieved what we have without the contributions of Ricketts and Richards and Ilkeston FC fans will always remember them fondly.

“Gary will be 39 next month and although he’s keen to play on for as long as possible, he understands that we as a club have taken the decision to go down a different route.

“He’s been a terrific influence on our young players and the supporters love him.

“We will miss not having him around the place but we’ve talked it through and he agrees that it’s time for both sides to move on.

“Everyone knows how talented Matt is - he has that rare ability to do something in the course of a game that gets you off your seat - and I honestly believe he could still make an impact at Football League level if he applies himself.

“A number of clubs have asked me about him and nothing would please me more than to see him step up and do well.”

Talks are ongoing with several players Wilson is keen to keep at Ilkeston for next season, with Laurie Wilson, Joe Maguire, Ryan Wilson, James Reid, Kane Richards and Rob Duffy all discussing their futures.

With plans for next season continuing at pace, Burton Albion have confirmed they will send a side to play Ilkeston in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday, July 15.

Albion have been regular pre-season opponents since Ilkeston FC were formed and Gary Rowett, who guided his side to the League Two play-off final last month, will again pit his wits against Kevin Wilson this summer.

The friendly adds to those already announced against the first teams of Derby County (July 5), Nottingham Forest (July 12) and Leicester City (July 29), while away games against Gresley FC, Coalville Town and Lincoln United are expected to be confirmed in due course.

Meanwhile, the constitution of next season’s Evo-Stik Premier Division has changed again following Worksop Town’s resignation last week.

Corby Town have been put back into the Southern Premier League, with Division One South winners Halesowen Town and fellow West Midlands club Stourbridge, whom Ilkeston FC beat in the FA Trophy in 2012, now set to appear in the Northern division instead.