Ilkeston rugby coach David Jackson says his side must get over blip in form
COACH David Jackson says his Ilkeston side cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to keep their Midlands One East promotion hopes alive.
The Elks suffered a setback last weekend as they were beaten 27-17 away to Market Rasen & Louth.
Jackson was disappointed with the performance in Lincolnshire but the team have a chance to redeem themselves when they play their game in hand this weekend.
Ilkeston went into the Market Rasen game a point off top spot but ended the day having dropped to fifth in the table.
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However, they can close back in on the leaders if they beat Market Bosworth at the Stute tomorrow.
"We were pretty poor at Market Rasen," said Jackson.
"It was a blip but we have a chance to put it right this weekend.
"That is what we want to do.
"We will be positive going into the game and look to bounce back.
"I'm expecting a big response from the boys – and we need it, because we can't really afford to lose again."
Ilkeston have now won 12 league games and lost five.
Six of their remaining nine fixtures are at home – including the next three.
They still have to play all five of the other top-six sides in the division.
"If we really want to be up there challenging for promotion, we can't have any more slip-ups," Jackson added.
"It's very tight up there and the top six is very competitive.
"If we win our game in hand, we will jump back up a couple of places – but we know we can't take anything for granted in this division.
"We don't become a bad team overnight, though there are things we need to work on.
"We just need to make sure we respond in a positive manner – that's all we can do."
Alex Ayres, Dan Taylor and Matt Watkins are all unavailable for Ilkeston tomorrow.
Last Saturday, Market Bosworth were beaten 61-10 at Matlock, who leapfrogged Ilkeston in the table as a result.
Matlock are without a league fixture this weekend.
"It's a shame we haven't got a game this weekend but we might arrange a friendly between the first and second teams," said head coach Alan Johnson.
"It's fantastic to be above the likes of Ilkeston and Paviors at this stage of the season.
"I know Ilkeston have a game in hand and they could well go back above us this weekend but I'd rather have the points on the board."