Robins' double swoop ahead of Cup tie
Friday 5 October
Kevin Wilson today clinched the signing of strikers Jordan Smith and Dereece Gardner - and the Ilkeston FC boss narrowly failed to complete a hat-trick.
He was also hoping to finalise a deal for a central defender and admitted he was “very disappointed” that it didn’t go through.
But the arrival of Smith (pictured), a 24-year old proven goal-scorer from Stamford AFC, and Gardner, a promising 18-year-old, is a major boost as the Robins prepare for tomorrow’s home FA Cup clash with Gresley FC.
Smith is unavailable for the Cup tie - he will make his debut at the New Manor Ground in Monday’s League game against Buxton - but Gardner, a former Aston Villa and Watford youngster who has just completed a trial spell with Stoke City, will be among the substitutes tomorrow.
Said Wilson: “Jordan is strong and powerful ... he’s not nicknamed ‘The Bull’ for nothing. He’s a player that I’ve tracked for some time, going back to his days with Redditch and King’s Lynn, and I’m delighted to have him on board.
“We’ve lost too many games by the odd goal already this season and the fact of the matter is that we haven’t scored enough goals. Something had to be done about that and I believe Jordan can do well with us.
“He scored 15 times last season for Corby in the Conference North before moving to Stamford in the summer, and will also offer us good pace up front - a quality that we don’t have in abundance.
“As for Dereece, he was recommended to us by Dalian Atkinson, who I played with at Ipswich. We had the boy over to work with us, liked what we saw and offered him the chance to join us.”
A further boost for Wilson is that full backs Chris Jones and Ryan Wilson both proved their fitness in training last night and are available to face Gresley. But Gary Ricketts, Russell Cooke and Laurie Wilson are still out.
Added the manager: “I’m really looking forward to the Cup tie with Gresley and having strung together a three-game unbeaten run, I just hope we can keep it going.”
Normal League prices will apply against Gresley and, if necessary, the replay will take place on Tuesday, meaning the Buxton game would be postponed.