Striker Clarke closing in on return
Friday 3 August
Jamie Clarke could make his return to the Ilkeston FC fray in the friendly at Sheffield FC tomorrow, providing he continues his current rate of recuperation.
The striker, signed earlier this summer from Loughborough Dynamo, has missed the last three pre-season games for us against Burton Albion, Gresley and Port Vale after he took a knee in his back against Notts County.
Manager Kevin Wilson has been monitoring the situation closely and is hopeful that the former Boston man can get some minutes in during the trip to Dronfield as the opening league game against AFC Fylde on August 18 looms on the horizon.
But he admits other players may have to sit out the short journey to give them the best chance possible of being available to face the Coasters for the big kick-off.
“Jamie’s in the squad for the game at Sheffield having made progress and I hope to get him some game time after he has been out,” said Wilson.
“What we don’t have to worry about is what he can bring because he has already shown in training that he has good ability and will fit right into the mix here.
“We have picked up a few niggles from our last match (against Port Vale) and in training. Dan Partridge has a slight problem with his Achilles and for Laurie Wilson (shoulder), it will just be a case of trying to get him ready for the Fylde game.
“The good thing is that Will McCall got through 45 minutes against Port Vale and Ryan Wilson played for 80 minutes.”
The Robins last took on Sheffield in the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South play-off semi-final at the end of last season and romped to an imperious 7-0 win at the New Manor Ground.
But Wilson is keen for his players to forget that and concentrate on the present, not the past.
He said: “We produced that result against Sheffield when it mattered, but they have a new manager now (former professional footballer and boxer Curtis Woodhouse) and their players will be out to impress.
“We are going to get different challenges right through the season – and that is why we have picked the games that we have.
“Some teams like to play it long and some short and you get games at different tempos. For us, it’s all about making sure we are ready for August 18.
“I’m sure the momentum we built up at the end of last season will stand us in good stead, but we need to be ready because we have got six games in a very short space of time to start the season.”