Ilkeston Manager Kevin Wilson has admitted that he wants to experiment with a team almost entirely made up of released Apprentices.
Wilson is on record as saying that he wants to “go young” when building his senior squad for The Evo-Stik League Division One South newcomers.
A visitor to LFE’s Assessment Trials last month, Wilson’s, top targets are players who have been released after completing their Apprenticeships with Football League clubs – and he wants to offer them a way back to that level of football.
He explained: “It’s a model that has never been tried before but I’m working on putting together a squad that will feature lads who have been released by League clubs, mixed in with the best of last season’s Apprentices – and a few ‘old’ heads to form the spine of the team.”
“The challenge is to convince them that Ilkeston FC is the club for them when, in many cases, they’ve also had offers from other clubs.”
The model will also see the players employed at the New Manor Ground on a full-time basis, with the focus to improve them over the course of the season.
“We saw last season how quickly the players can improve if you work with them all the time – with standards of fitness as well as their performances – and I’m really keen to do that if we can find a way.”
“I’ve talked it through with chairman Dave Mantle, who shares my view that building from the bottom is the way forward for us. Ideally, we want a squad of talented lads who can grow together and bring us some lasting success.”
“And if it ultimately leads to them signing for League clubs – to our benefit as well their own – that would be brilliant.”