Kevin Wilson has expressed pride in his young side after two improved performances breathed life back into Ilkeston FC’s season.
Saturday’s 3-1 win at Ashton United was followed by a narow 1-0 loss at home to AFC Fylde on Tuesday night, both games seeing the Robins play with a more effective 3-5-2 system that is proving popular with the squad.
And with a break from action until April 19 now the order of the day, Wilson took time to reflect on a timely boost in terms of the improved displays.
He said: “I’ve said a lot this season that there have been times we’ve not got what we’ve deserved from games and that was the case against Fylde, where we’ve gone toe-to-toe with a team up at the top and challenging for honours and matched them in virtually every department.
“I’m proud of the players tonight as although the result didn’t come, they could hold their heads high for the effort put in.
“It’s always a tight game with Fylde and a good footballing game and we did well.
“Saturday was really pleasing because we showed a lot of energy and pace. Courey Grantham came on and did well and Ryan (Wilson) has adapted well to a new position at centre-half where he enjoys playing.
“So all-in-all it’s been a good few days for us in terms of performances and given us something to build on going forward.
“We’ve tried to be relaxed around the players and if you’re a proper fan of this football club you’ll see the progress being made.”
Regarding the formation being used, Wilson says it’s something he could well persist with moving forward.
He added: “I got familiar with it when doing my coaching badges at FC Twente and it’s something I’m keen to develop.
“The younger lads have been used to it in the academy teams and the first-team players now seem to be adapting well too.
“The fact is we’re not getting rolled over by anyone regardless of the formation, having only lost narrowly to several of the good sides in this league, and the overall direction we’re moving in is still something to be encouraged by.”
Ilkeston are now eight points clear of the relegation zone and although those still in with a chance of safety below them have a game in hand, the Robins look unlikely to be overhauled going into the final fortnight of the campaign.
Wilson said: “We’ve got a break now to re-charge the batteries and the lads won’t be back in training until next week, but we’ll watch on with interest what happens on Saturday, particularly with Frickley v Marine.
“Frickley are looking like they’ll have to win all their games now which will be tough given some of the matches to be played.
“But we’ll be ready for the Marine game and if we can continue with the recent displays we’ll do well.
“We may still be lacking that major goal source up front but we’re matching teams in most areas of the pitch and the younger players are adapting well to new positions, which will help us going into next season.”