ILKLEY Town boss Simon Armstrong is delighted his side have won their opening five games in the West Yorkshire League Premier Division, but says a highly competitive league means finishing top would be a real achievement.

Field and Beeston St Anthony have also won all of their games so far, but plenty of other teams have shown promise this season too.

That includes this Saturday’s opponents Robin Hood Athletic, whose only defeats have come against Field (2-0) and Beeston (1-0), and their visitors last weekend, Whitkirk Wanderers.

Whitkirk gave Ilkley a real scare, going 2-0 up after 55 minutes, before a fine comeback saw Town record a 4-2 victory.

Discussing an impressive-looking top flight this season, Armstrong said: “There’s five or six teams, possibly even more, who are extremely strong this year.

“There were two or three strong sides last year, but this season just seems more difficult, and I think there’s less of a gap between the top and bottom.

“Field have made a great start, but so have Horbury and Hunslet. Us and Beeston were the best two sides last year, so hopefully that can continue.

“Carlton are decent, having played them, while Hall Green are undefeated and seem to be a surprise package.

“It took us until the last 25 minutes to beat Knaresborough (2-0) the other week and we’ve played Sherburn White Rose too.

“They dropped everyone back deep and we only managed to beat them 1-0.

“This was a team who’d only picked up four points last season before it all ended due to lockdown, so that just shows how much more competitive it is now.

“There are no easy games.”

Whitkirk at the weekend proved to be a tricky contest too, but the character shown in the late comeback delighted Armstrong.

George Gomersall netted Ilkley’s third and fourth goals in the victory.

The young midfielder used to be at Guiseley, and asked whether Ilkley’s aim is to try and push players back up to that level, Armstrong mused: “George is like a few of our lads, who could potentially play at the next level, or even the one above that.

“But we’ve got that ambition to get to the next level ourselves and we’re trying to get better all the time.

“We also have an attractive footballing philosophy, where we like to pass it out from the back and play through the thirds, which suits someone like George.

“Of course the main thing in football is you want to win, but some teams at a higher level want to do that at all costs. Some of our good players might get lost in their sides, and their talent get wasted.”

For now then, Gomersall and his talented teammates look set to excel at Ilkley, and Armstrong warned his side will need to be in good form to beat this Saturday’s opponents, Robin Hood.

He said: “Robin Hood will be strong, committed and organised, from what I’ve seen and heard from others this season, probably more than they have been in the last two or three years.

“I expect they’ll be difficult to break down, as they’ve only lost twice, and both times to stronger opposition in Beeston and Field. They’ve taken points off the rest of the teams they’ve played.

“It will be a real challenge for us.”