Wilson praises players after turbulent week

James Reid (right) in action against Belper on Monday. Photo by Craig Lamont.
James Reid (right) in action against Belper on Monday. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Ilkeston FC completed a difficult week off the pitch with two victories on it as they maintained their promotion push over Easter.

A 2-0 win at Frickley Athletic on Saturday was followed by a 1-0 success at home to Belper Town on Easter Monday, just days after it was revealed that manager Kevin Wilson would not be having his contract renewed at the end of the current season (see page 45)

And Wilson was delighted to have taken six points from two tricky-looking encounters against sides in the lower reaches of the table.

He said: “Belper are down but won’t just roll over so it was actually a really good result on Monday that we had to work hard for.

“Similar can be said about Frickley who are fighting for their lives and even though we weren’t at our best in either game, we got six points and two clean sheets which you’d take every day of the week.

“It was a great effort by all of the players. We had to make some changes due to injuries but we’ve ground the wins out.

“Jordan Smith saved us at the end of the Belper game with a couple of key saves but he’s been doing that all season which is one of the reasons we’re where we are.

“The players haven’t been affected by what’s been happening off the pitch which is to their great credit. We’ve won more than half of our games which is fantastic. We’ve got a job to do and are now very close to cementing a play-off place so we will be fully committed to that until the season ends.”

Wilson is still a strong believer that promotion can be achieved despite some slightly below par performances, particularly with Ilkeston having a tendency to play better against sides higher up the table.

He added: “If we fall away and don’t go up that will be a real shame because these players deserve promotion.

“We’ll now see over the next few weeks what will happen but whilst we make a few mistakes here and there we also try and play football rather than hoofing it about which is still quite rare in this division.

“If we didn’t sell the players we’ve sold this year we could quite easily have been champions already, so it’s a credit to everyone that we’re still second despite those departures.”

Next up for the Robins will be a trip to face old rivals Grantham Town on Saturday, having drawn 1-1 with them at the New Manor Ground on March 7.

The Gingerbreads are mid-table with nothing to play for and lost 4-1 at home to relegation-threatened Stamford on Monday, with Wilson keen to keep the Robins’ good away form going.

He said: “I really want us to get the points in the bag as soon as possible rather than have to go to the last day not knowing if we’re in the play-offs or not. We’ve won a lot of points on the road this year and although Grantham is a tough place to play, the onus will be on us to go there and get another three points.”