Strachan not overawed by Ilkeston task PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 August 2015

gavin strachan.jpgYou would think the pressure would weigh on Gavin Strachan's mind ahead of his first season in management but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

Carrying the burden of a famous name in British football, coupled with taking over at Ilkeston from the long-serving and highly respected Kevin Wilson could have meant that he would enter the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division season with some trepidation.

But as soon as the former Hartlepool United and Coventry City player (pictured) starts talking you sense the pressure is a rarely used word in his vocabulary.

"It's been good so far and we have been busy. We have had a big rebuilding job to oversee with rebuilding the squad, rebuilding the backroom staff and making changes with the academy.”

“I am very much open-minded about the season and I just want to see how we do. The standards and passion are high from the chairman Nigel Harrop. He shares my passion and it has made it easy to settle in.

“It is slightly unknown territory for me at this level. I know it will be competitive and I know there are some great players and great teams. But all I can do is focus on us and see where we get to, that is my emphasis going into the season."

That rebuilding job hasn't been made any easier by the departure of several key players who chose to follow Wilson to Nuneaton Town.

The likes of Callum Chettle, James Reid and former Robins captain Joe Maguire joined their former manager at the Boro, something Strachan "half-expected" to happen.

Rather than looking backwards the young manager has a positive demeanour and insists that he can be successful with the Derbyshire outfit.

"The departures have taken the expectation levels down. People see what are perceived to be our better players going to Nuneaton and think we will struggle. But I am really pleased with the business we have done and I am not setting targets.

“I always expected players to go but what that has done is give me a chance to get other people in. I half-expected the departures to happen, it's part of football, but I am happy with what we have here and we can be successful"

The New Manor Ground club have formed a reputation for developing young players and selling them on to Football League clubs.

In the last year defender Akil Wright has moved to Fleetwood and Che Adams joined Sheffield United, hitting national headlines by scoring a brace in the Blades Capital One Cup semi-final against Spurs.

Developing players is one of Strachan's key priorities with his new squad, but he wants to find a balance between developing a youngster to attract the attention of professional clubs and being successful with Ilkeston.

"I want to develop players, that is what my background is in. On the day-to-day aspect of the role we aim to improve all of our players and progress in the league and cups. But we don't want to only develop them for other clubs to come in and buy, we want to develop them to make Ilkeston successful.

One other priority for Strachan was to add experience to a young, vibrant Robins squad, something he has now remedied.

Controversial former West Brom and and Notts Country striker Lee Hughes completed a move to the Manor Ground ahead of the new season, a move described by his new manager as "a coup".

"It is a coup, Lee has been training with us and he has enjoyed it. The enthusiasm of the players, who were all really keen, helped. I wanted that experience and Lee is the ideal signing for us at this point in time," he says.

Hughes, however, has had a mixed start to his Ilkeston career. He was sent off in the opening day 3-1 home defeat by Skelmersdale but scored in Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Gratham.

Of course Strachan won't have to look far for inspiration when it comes to management.

His Dad Gordon is currently manager of the Scotland national team, having had major success at Celtic earlier in his managerial career.

Strachan junior admitted that his Dad is there for advice but insisted that he is like any other manager starting out in the game, with results dictating his future path.

"He does what he does and stays away but he is there if I have any questions. I am like any manager starting out, people go on about philosophies but you must win games to buy yourself time to implement that philosophy.

“I have no career path planned out, there are no delusions of grandeur here. I just want to get started with Ilkeston and try to be successful for the club, for the players and for the staff" I want to play total football, any manager does but I have to win games to enable that to happen."

And with that outlook who would bet against them doing exactly that.

Interview: Mark Carruthers

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