Strachan laments costly drops in concentration

JJ Blake (centre) gets involved in the action at Whitby Town on Saturday. Photo by Craig Lamont.
JJ Blake (centre) gets involved in the action at Whitby Town on Saturday. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Gavin Strachan says crucial portions of games where his Ilkeston FC players lose focus are proving to be the main source of frustration as the Robins’ winless run continued this week.

The 4-2 loss at Whitby Town on Saturday saw Strachan’s men once again fail to turn a winning position into three points, with a 20-minute spell either side of half-time identified by the head coach as being the key reason for it now being eight games in all competitions since Ilkeston last won.

And although familiar failings such as a hatful of missed chances were again on show, Strachan is still adamant the run of bad form will end soon.

He said: “Saturday’s loss was down to a combination of things. We were good going forward and took the lead but again missed good chances to score further goals until it was too late.

“It was a poor first goal to give away and then there was a spell either side of half-time where we conceded the second goal, they got a penalty which they missed and then scored the third early in the second-half.

“It’s these clusters of moments where our young players are losing clarity of what they should be doing which are costing us.

“We finished the game strongly but the game was out of reach.

“I know I may sound like a stuck record but the same issues of not scoring enough and struggling at the back are what need addressing and we’re trying to do that.”

Strachan says new players remain an option but reinforced his belief that any new signings have to fit the bill on a number of levels.

He added: “It’s not that it should be a case of threatening players. If anything we need to bring new faces in to help the youngsters out.

“Young players losing games can have their confidence badly dented. We have a clear belief in what we are trying to do and it’s different to other clubs. As staff we need to reinforce to the players what’s needed and the results will come.”

Two home games in three days are now in store with high-flying Nantwich Town coming to the New Manor Ground on Saturday and Barwell following on Monday.

Strachan added: “We played well in our last home game against Darlington so it gives us something to build on.

“A win could change everything. A good weekend will alter the outlook completely.

“The morale throughout the club is still very good. We’ve had Steve Welsh come in from Boston to coach the academy and that’s given a fresh impetus to that group. We keep a keen eye on them as one or two are very close to getting a chance in the first team but it has to be the right game rather than just throwing them in. Five were given contracts this week and that’s great news.”

Meanwhile, the trip to Salford City on Saturday, October 10 has been postponed due to City’s involvement in the FA Cup.

A new fixture is expected to be arranged once Tuesday night’s replays have been completed.

Q&A with Ilkeston FC CEO Nigel Harrop - see page 49