Gavin Strachan has expressed his disappointment at Ilkeston FC only taking one point from their Bank Holiday double-header, but insists he and his young squad are learning all of the time.
A 1-1 draw with Sutton Coldfield on Saturday was followed by a 1-0 loss at Matlock Town on Monday, with head coach Strachan feeling the Robins did enough in both games to have deserved more.
But having digested another dose of the harsh realities of life in the Northern Premier League, he believes there is still plenty of cause for optimism.
He said: “Against Sutton Coldfield we dominated possession and did more of what we were looking for when we had the ball and also created the better chances, but we just couldn’t take enough of them.
“The manner of Sutton’s goal was frustrating but so was our inability to make the most of the chances we created.
“Then against Matlock we weren’t very good at all but still created far more good chances than they did and would have won if we’d taken a couple of them. I think Matlock had about one shot plus the cross that went in and that was it.
“So it’s been a tough week but we are learning so much as a group from every game.
“These young players are having to adapt to the intensity of the fixture schedule in that most won’t have played this frequently before, as well as the amount of defending they’re having to do, but it’s early days and there are plenty of positives too.”
When asked whether more experience may be needed in the Robins squad, Strachan agreed it may become an option but only if the right players are available.
He said: “You’re always looking to see if some lads are struggling more than others and if changes are needed, but we’ll only bring in players who are better than what we have and also who will do the running we expect and be technically sound too.”
Burton Albion winger Marcus Harness has had his loan from the Brewers extended until January 1, having scored twice since his arrival and impressed in the opening games.
Strachan added: “We’re pleased Marcus will stay on as he wanted to stay and Burton are happy with the way things are going, so it’s a situation that’s benefiting everyone.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t play him at Matlock due to complications with the paperwork surrounding the new agreement, and he’ll be suspended at Frickley on Tuesday, but he’ll be a key part of our squad in the future games.”
Prior to the trip to Frickley, Ilkeston will face Ashton United at the New Manor Ground on Saturday, a side who joined Ilkeston in the play-offs last year but who have had an indifferent start to this campaign.
Meanwhile, Ilkeston now know who they will face in the FA Cup first qualifying round.
Rugby Town of the Evo-Stik League Division One South beat Coventry Sphinx in their extra preliminary round tie on Saturday and will travel to the New Manor Ground on September 12.