Ilkeston FC boss Kevin Wilson has criticised his players following what he described as an ‘unacceptable’ performance against Matlock Town on Saturday and demanded better from another home clash this weekend.
The Gladiators won the encounter 3-1 thanks to three first-half goals, with Ilkeston failing to inspire at all in what was their first in a run of four consecutive home games.
The next of those will be against another Derbyshire side, Buxton on Saturday, and Wilson is expecting to see a much better display against a side battling against relegation.
He said: “Quite simply, we were second to everything on Saturday and it was an unacceptable performance.
“Some players here need to start standing up to be counted otherwise they could find themselves not playing at all, not only this season but in terms of staying on in the future too.
“They’re playing for their places and are only as good as their last game, which in this case was very poor.
“Some individual displays on Saturday were OK but as a team we were nowhere near what we should have been and that was disappointing, because we want to finish the season as strongly as possible .
“We’re not just drifting to the end as there is still a lot to play for, and we’re not even safe from relegation yet given the games in hand a lot of sides below us still have.”
The Robins have faced Buxton twice already this season, recording narrow victories in the league and also the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
Wilson added: “They’re in a bit of a bad run and not far outside the relegation places so will be fighting for their lives on Saturday and we have to be ready for that.
“We can’t allow another display like last weekend. Every player has to work hard and put a shift in. Their attitude has to be good.”
Wilson gave minutes to young striker Goran Seymour on Saturday as the Robins continue to give their younger squad members opportunities for first team football.
Several members of the club’s thriving academy have become regulars in the first team and with their experience growing by the game, Wilson believes that can only aid things moving forward.
“We want to bring kids into the team but to be fair we also can’t ignore those already in the team who have done well,” he added.
“We can’t have two teenagers up front all the time like we finished with on Saturday as they’re learning their trade and I know from experience it’s a tough part of the pitch to do that, so it’s important to have some experience too.”
The Robins only have eight league games left to play in this campaign, with five of those against sides currently challenging for the title or a play-off place.
Wilson said: “With fewer games to fit in we’re having clear weeks between them which means we’re that bit fresher, but if performances aren’t good enough the players won’t get any favours when it comes to midweek training.
“I’d prefer to have points on the board and I think a couple more wins should see safety secured, but we have to really improve - especially given the quality we’re still to face.”