Friday 17 August
Kevin Wilson is urging maximum concentration tomorrow from his Ilkeston FC players as we prepare for our opening game of the new season against AFC Fylde.
We’re hoping a bumper crowd will turn up at the New Manor Ground to help us launch our campaign in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division by hosting the Coasters in what is a mouth-watering battle of newly-promoted teams.
The first-time visitors to Ilkeston won 31 games out of 42 on their way to claiming the Division One North title, while we went up through the Division One South Play-offs.
It makes for an intriguing clash where both teams will be looking for a flying start in establishing themselves at the higher level.
“We saw Fylde play at Leek in pre-season, but it’s very hard to draw anything from those kinds of games when players play within themselves,” said manager Wilson.
“We are looking to carry it on from last season, as are Fylde. They have done exceptionally well just like us. They have built themselves up to come through the leagues, while we are rebuilding from scratch.
“I’m just delighted that we have got the opportunity to perform on this stage thanks to the way we played at the end of last season.”
“As I always do, I’ll be telling the lads to go out and enjoy it and make the right decisions along the way.”
Wilson is well aware that attention to detail is increasingly important the higher up the football pyramid you go.
He added: “We have to make sure that defensively we are switched on from free-kicks and corners and make sure that when our chances come along, we stick them away.
“There are more good players coming into the system from the higher leagues at this level. It’s going to be a strong League, but I have every confidence in our squad.”
We got off to a roaring start last season by winning our opening encounter 4-0 against Goole AFC and, with Laurie Wilson returning to training after a shoulder injury, boss Wilson hopes to have a full-strength squad from which to select this time.
“It’s obviously nice to get off to a winning start, but it’s not a game we must win,” he said. “There’s a long season ahead and, as they, say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
“For me, you can only reflect on the League table when you are about 12 games in. It’s after that time everything starts to map out and you can see where you are.”
• Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the match programme which has historic value ... Ilkeston FC’s first as a Premier Division Club. At just £2, it’s fantastic value and if you cannot wait until tomorrow, copies are available today in the Sir John Warren.
• Please note that the IFC Supporters Group will be based within the clubhouse on match-days this season, where they will be taking bookings for coach travel to away matches and selling their popular Prediction Sheets. Alternatively supporters can visit www.ifcsg.co.uk.