Ricketts sets return target date
Thursday 4 October
Gary Ricketts is disappointed injury means he will not be available to lead Ilkeston FC into FA Cup battle at home to Gresley this weekend - but is targeting a return by the end of October.
The veteran striker, 37, has been absent from our side since he damaged ankle ligaments in the 1-0 first qualifying round cup win over Coalville.
He has no chance of figuring against the Moatmen at the New Manor Ground on Saturday, but will be cheering on fervently from the sidelines as we hope to secure the £7,500 prize money for booking a fourth qualifying round place.
And with steady progress being made in terms of rehabilitation, Ricketts (pictured) is determined to be back in the fray sooner rather than later.
“It has been pretty frustrating because I was looking forward to the start of the season and sinking my teeth into it, but I’ve been unfortunate with the injuries,” he said.
“I’d started pretty well and was feeling sharp but then missed a game or two with a combination of an elbow to the ribs and a thigh strain. I then came back and after 20 minutes against Coalville had to go off again.
“I went in for a tackle and my foot was caught in a funny position and turned right the way around, which has set me back quite a while now.
“But I’ve had my rest period and now I’m starting to exercise and strengthen up the ankle ligaments in the hope that I can soon start running and getting back into training.
“I’ve been told the end of October, although I’m hoping sooner, but at the same time there is no point in rushing back too soon and it not being right.”
Ricketts said it would be amazing if he can return with the Robins in the hat for the first round proper, in what is our first season back in the FA Cup following reformation.
He added: “I’ve played in a couple of first round ties and it is fantastic, so that is a great incentive for the lads being at the third qualifying round stage going into the Gresley game.
“It’s very much a case of taking one game at a time and not looking too far ahead. You have to concentrate on the here and now otherwise you have no chance of making it through.”
• Should Saturday’s game at the New Manor Ground end all square, the replay will take place at the Moat Ground on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm.