Now Cooke joins Robins injury-list
Saturday 1 September
Russell Cooke has joined Ilkeston FC's crippling injury-list and is doubtful for Monday's home clash against Rushall Olympic.
The influential skipper (pictured) limped off with a thigh strain during this afternoon's 1-0 defeat at Chorley. And with Laurie Wilson and Gary Ricketts looking certain to miss out again on Monday, the Robins are likely to be stripped of their three most experienced players, who make up the spine of the team.
Said manager Kevin Wilson: "Things are not going our way at the moment but I'm not looking for excuses. It's a time for people to stand up and be counted - and I need the players to show some leadership qualities.
"It was another very disappointing display at Chorley and we're just not performing as I know we can. We haven't started our season yet and we need to do something to change that.
"What disappoints me most is that a number of players have had opportunities to go into the team and really make a statement. They haven't responded."
Wilson was furious about the goal that won the game - scored by Darren Stephenson three minutes after the break.
He said: "The players were warned at half time about the danger from set-pieces and didn't take the information on board. A long throw into our box was allowed to bounce and should have been dealt with.
"Other than that we defended well enough to perhaps get a draw but at the other end, we don't even look like breaking down the opposition. That's a real concern."
The one bright spot was the lively debut appearance of 16-year-old scholar Ryan Osborne, who replaced Jamie Clarke for the final 15 minutes.
He had a shot saved after cleverly creating the opening for himself and also showed good skill to set up Joe Maguire, whose effort was cleared off the line.
Ryan Wilson also returned from injury as a second half substitute and will be in line to return to the starting line-up against Rushall if he shows no ill-effects.