by Peter Scherer
It’s FA Cup time and we welcome near neighbours Ilkeston Town to the Don Amott Arena on Saturday.
Compared to the side we played in the league last season, there are only three players left, including skipper Kieran Fenton.
We took three points off them in the league last season, winning 3-2 away and drawing 1-1 at home, and had a 1-1 draw at the Manor in pre-season too.
While Mickleover are riding the crest of wave at the top of the Southern Premier League Central Division, it’s not been plain sailing for our visitors.
At the beginning of August former Buxton manager Gary Hayward was put in charge replacing Jamie Ward and having moved from the Southern to the Northern Premier League, they started the season with three successive wins.
With 13 goals for and only two against, they were riding high too, but the tide has turned with three consecutive defeats, leaving them ninth in the table.
First choice keeper is former Derby County Junior Matt Yates. He was signed pre-season from Gainsborough, where he spent two years following his Rams release. He also had spells on loan at Gloucester City, Hereford and Telford.
Reserve keeper is Harvey Woodward who helped out Kimberley MW last season and is yet to make his first team debut.
Skipper and centre back Kieran Fenton is a former England Under 19 International, who started his career with Nottingham Forest. He was loaned to Tamworth before joining Worksop. He then moved to Basford and Coalville, before signing for Ilkeston from Quorn in November 2019.
Left back Henri Wilder came from Alfreton late last year. He started at Brighton before joining Mansfield Town. After a loan at Lewes, he joined Tamworth in 2019, moving to Alfreton three years later.
Ross Barrows is a centre back on loan from Scunthorpe Utd. He started out at Halifax Town and was loaned to Frickley Athletic and North Ferriby, before a permanent move to Grantham. After spells at Kings Lynn and Alfreton, he signed for Scunthorpe in July this year.
Luke Cox is a centre back too, who started his career with Sheffield Wednesday. He joined Redditch following his release and was at Chasetown, before a six-month spell with Long Eaton preceded his pre-season arrival at the Manor Ground.
Right back Declan Eratt-Thompson is another Sheffield Wednesday Junior. He was at Stocksbridge in between two spells with the Owls and came to Ilkeston in August ’22 following his release.
Jamie Hanson is a defensive midfielder, a former England Under 20 International and Rams Junior. After a loan at Wigan Athletic, he joined Oxford Utd, racking up well over 100 games in the Championship and League One. He was without a club for a year, until joining Ilkeston pre-season.
An attacking midfielder or winger, Jordy Hallam was a pre-season singing from Scunthorpe, having spent part of last season on loan too.
A former Sheffield Utd Junior, he was loaned to Southport, Viking Stavanger and Chesterfield before joining Scunthorpe in 2019. He made 28 league appearances, scoring four goals.
With five goals already this season Jamie Walker can play striker or attacking midfielder. He has played for Basford, Long Eaton and Alfreton, before coming to Ilkeston a month ago.
Teenaged winger Jack Tolley was a pre-season arrival from Kidderminster, who he joined in 2020 after being released by Shrewsbury Town. He also had a loan spell at Bromsgrove last season.
Striker Nathan Tyson now 41 years of age, has over 20 years of experience behind him. The ex England Under 20 International has made over 500 appearances in every division of the football league and scored more than 100 goals.
He started at Reading and after loans at Maidenhead, Swansea and Cheltenham, he moved to Wycombe Wanderers. A £1 million pound striker when he moved to Nottingham Forest in 2005, he stayed six years before moving to Derby County.
Blackpool, Fleetwood, Notts County and Doncaster were his next stops, before a spell in Scotland with Kilmarnock. He then returned to Wycombe and Notts County, before joining Chesterfield and spent last season at Grantham before coming to Ilkeston pre-season.
Basile Zottos is a pre-season signing too from Sheffield FC. Striker or winger, he impressed in our pre-season friendly. He was a Sheffield Wednesday Junior and also played for Ossett Town.
Striker Declan Howe is the newest signing, having come from Alfreton last week. He has previously been with Staveley MW, Darlington and Cleethorpes.
Mitchell Woakes is a midfielder signed in February and is on a dual registration with Heather St.John’s. He previously played for Hednesford Town.
Former Rams Junior midfielder Connor Dixon was on loan with the Robins for a few months last season too, but following a further loan at Farsley Celtic, he was released in the summer and is back at the Manor Ground permanently.
Defender Eli Christie impressed over the pre-season, primarily a full back, he is another Rams Junior, yet to make his Ilkeston debut.
Tao Alexander-Tucker is a pacey winger, recently arrived from Lincoln City, having started off at Nottingham Forest.
Ethan Hill has also arrived over the last week, a midfielder who started to Mansfield Town and played for Kettering and Telford too.
It’s 3pm kick-off as usual and fans are requested to arrive early.