Nottingham Forest coach Julian Darby believes the side’s friendly win over Ilkeston FC can be used as a ‘building brick’ towards the start of the Championship season.The Reds ran out 2-0 winners, courtesy of goals from Simon Cox and Marcus Tudgay, on a scorching afternoon in the Derbyshire sunshine and Darby was pleased with the performance considering the sweltering conditions.
He said: “It is another building brick towards what happens in three weeks’ time. It is a blistering hot day as everyone knows so to get two early goals was very pleasing.
“We were looking for energy today and for good fitness levels from the lads. One or two things still need brushing up on but, all in all, it was a terrific workout for the boys.
“Within 15 minutes we were two up with two fantastic strikes and I thought we were unfortunate not to score again. With a little bit more quality, it could have been a few more.”
The conditions limited the tempo of the game to a pedestrian pace in the second half, but Darby believes the workout will have helped the players with their fitness levels.
He said: “We’ve still got a long way to go as a squad and we’re trying to get more match fitness into the players whilst increasing the quality, but we’ll get there.
“It was hard today but we had double training sessions in Portugal where it was hotter so, not to say today was a walk in the park, but we felt quite used to it.”
Darby was also delighted to see members of the Under 21 squad take part in the game and insists it will have given them good experience ahead of the long campaign to come.
He said: “It was fantastic, what a great experience for them. Some of these kids were at school four or five weeks ago and now they’re out there playing with their heroes who are full internationals.
“It is brilliant for them and will help them to improve as players no end.”