Elks looking to make the most of chance to go back to the top of the league
ILKESTON have the chance to go back to the top of the Midlands One East table this weekend.
The Elks currently trail leaders Peterborough Lions by a single point but can leapfrog them when they play their game in hand at home to Market Bosworth tomorrow.
Following last Saturday's 34-15 victory over in-form Towcestrians, David Jackson and Nigel Hall's men will be targeting another maximum five-point haul in their rearranged fixture at the Stute to boost their promotion hopes.
"Our aim was to put ourselves in a position where we could go top if we won our game in hand – and we've done that," said Jackson.
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"Winning that game in hand is the challenge we face now.
"We're looking for consistency and we've told the players the win against Towcestrians will count for nothing if we lose against Market Bosworth."
Ilkeston have won six of their last seven matches – a defeat at Peterborough the only blot on their form book.
Market Bosworth are ninth in the table, with four wins, two draws and 10 defeats to their name so far.
The Leicestershire side led Ilkeston with 10 minutes to go earlier this season but a late flurry of tries gave the Elks a 31-22 victory.
Jackson feels the team have a point to prove in the wake of that previous encounter.
"We only just beat them at their place," he said. "We very nearly lost the game and got out of jail in the end.
"They thought they were unlucky not to win, while we felt we should have won by more.
"So we've got plenty of motivation to go out there and prove a point.
"And there's the added bonus of the chance to go top, of course."
Even if Ilkeston return to the summit this weekend, the race for the title and play-off spot will remain wide open, with five points separating the top five sides as things stand.
"It's incredibly tight at the top," said Jackson. "Matlock are fifth and are not far behind.
"At this stage of the season, it doesn't really matter whether you play a team at the top or at the bottom – every game is massive.
"We've seen all sorts of results in recent weeks, so anything can happen.
"We can only take control of our own job."
Ilkeston are waiting on the fitness of centre Dan Taylor, who dislocated a thumb during the Towcestrians match.
"We'll see if he can get it strapped up and play but might have to make a late call on that one," Jackson added.
Meanwhile, hooker Marc Moore (calf) and second row Steve Fowkes (hand) remain sidelined.
Matlock are without a first-team match this weekend.