Following the departures of Eli Bako, Joe Doyle and Joe Burgess, several other Ilkeston players have today parted company with the Robins.
Liam Marshall, Oliver Luto, Charlie Coulson, JJ Blake and Lee Ndlovu, have all left to pursue their careers at other clubs
The moves coincide with Ilkeston looking to stream line its squad and playing budget, with a view to making the club more enticing to new investors.
CEO Nigel Harrop said: “We want these players to progress to higher levels but it has to benefit us as a club and not just financially. It has been highlighted again this season with Jordan Wheatley. If you are good enough you are old enough. He gets better all the time as he gains more valuable experience with every game.
Good for Jordan and the first team. Those who have played more in the first team will command bigger fees which can in turn be put back into the playing squad, rather than our investors having to keep putting money in. Rhys Dolan and Lewis Walker also broke through and attracted interest immediately but we try to find a balance to enable our model work for the player and the club. Our young players have confidence in the management and know the club will give them the help to improve but also not stand in their way should an opportunity arise to move into league football.
Andy Watson’s side sits nine points away from the final play off place. Nigel Harrop and Watson think that this gives the club a good opportunity to start rebuilding the squad and utilise some of the very successful FA Youth Cup side. Both feel confident these youngsters will grasp this opportunity to play senior men’s football.
This reinforces Ilkeston FC’s youth model as the way forward and Luis Rose, Keenan Meakin, Ryan Head and Ben Morris will join the squad for Saturday’s trip to Skelmersdale United.
Harrop continued: “We’re not saying we’ll be playing 17 or 18-year-olds forever – next season could well see a little more experience brought into the side. We started the season with Lee Hughes in the side scoring goals regularly. One or two additions of that sort we feel with the right balance could turn us into a real force with our talented youngsters. We started from virtual scratch this year so we feel we have made great strides, but we are building a club for the future and are still very much work in progress.”
Harrop finished by saying: “Should we at any point this season go on a good run and look like we are making a push for the play-offs again, we can certainly look at boosting the quality of the squad in an attempt to aid a promotion charge, particularly given the resources freed up by releasing these members of the squad.”