Strachan hints at changes after FA Cup horror show

Ilkeston winger Marcus Harness in action during the FA Cup defeat to Rugby Town on Saturday. Photo by Lesley Pickersgill.
Ilkeston winger Marcus Harness in action during the FA Cup defeat to Rugby Town on Saturday. Photo by Lesley Pickersgill.

Gavin Strachan says he will not be afraid to make changes to the Ilkeston FC squad if performances don’t soon improve.

His words came after the Robins were beaten 3-2 at home to managerless Rugby Town in the FA Cup on Saturday, the visitors from Division One South of the Evo-Stik League winning courtesy of a calamitous own goal late on from Joe Doyle.

That result means Ilkeston are now without a win in five games as they prepare to travel to Marine on Saturday and then host Darlington 1883 on Monday night.

Strachan said: “Before Rugby scored their first goal we could easily have been five or six up as the chances we had weren’t really that difficult to score.

“When you’re in a run of conceding goals like we are, every chance that gets missed means nerves set in that bit more in the back line. They then scored with their first shot on goal - which is becoming a worrying theme - thanks to a huge deflection.

“I like to think I’m one of the most realistic people around but there’s no way of getting round it, anything that can go wrong at the minute is going wrong.

“We’ve had three players sent off in five home games, we’ve had own goals, we’ve had a player of Lee Hughes’ calibre leave us, although we knew that was always a possibility, and it feels like things just aren’t going our way.

“For a young set of players, it’s the staff that have to take the burden of that and hope they learn very quickly.”

Questions have been asked as to whether some of the young Robins squad is good enough to play at Northern Premier League level, and Strachan says it has been a learning process for all involved.

He added: “I came into this with preconceived ideas of what was needed and initially had to go with players I knew and give them a chance.

“You then have to very quickly weed out the ones that can’t deal with it.

“We tried something a bit different with a diamond formation and the full-backs playing high and it worked well initially but then didn’t really happen later on.

“We’ve just got to try and find a formula that works with this set of players.

“There is a budget and there are constraints we’re working under but one of the benefits of this level is that you can change things quite quickly and move players in and out if needs be.

“The club ethos is to work with young players but I’m in charge of the squad so not only am I rightly held to account for the good things and the bad but also have the freedom to bring in experience if we can find the right players, which isn’t easy at the moment.

“I am looking for them. People like Lee Hughes fitted the bill perfectly.

“They don’t even have to train every day if they’re unable to due to work commitments.”

On the upcoming encounters, Strachan added: “We’ve got these two games now that will take us to ten in the league - if we win them then it’s a completely different outlook.

“It’s a time where we need big characters and belief in what we can do.”