Baillie: Poppies must take their opportunity

Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie

Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie

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Kettering Town have the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central to eight points tomorrow (Saturday).

The leaders travel to Northwood for a clash, which is their game in hand on second-placed Bedworth United who are without a match.

A victory will give the Poppies clear daylight over the chasing pack.

And while joint-boss Thomas Baillie has urged his team to take the opportunity with both hands, he knows they can take nothing for granted against a side who were hammered 5-0 at Latimer Park early in the campaign.

“It is an opportunity we simply have to take with both hands,” Baillie said.

“I said from the very start that we wanted to do what we could to try to lead from the front because we know from last season just how hard it is to chase teams.

“So we have a big opportunity but you underestimate and under-prepare for any team at this level at your peril because they will trip you up.

“That’s something that we have found out to our cost at times this season.

“Our record against the teams in the top half of the table is superb but against the teams in the lower half our record hasn’t been good enough.

“We have dropped points when we shouldn’t have done so we have to treat every game the same.

“We have set our own standards and if we stick to them then we will be fine.”

This weekend’s clash is followed by a trip to Daventry Town a week on Saturday before a New Year’s Day match with Rugby Town is quickly followed by a home game against Beaconsfield SYCOB.

Baillie added: “It is a busy period as it always is and our aim is to try to stay where we are.

“But football can change quickly and we know teams below us will be doing all they can to close the gap.

“All we can do is take each game as it comes and make sure we are prepared as well as we possibly can be for them.”

The Poppies are set to have a fully-fit squad for the trip to Northwood with Claudiu Hoban ready to return after he missed last weekend’s 5-0 home success over Royston Town as he was attending a family wedding.

Baillie said: “Claudiu will be back and that means we will have a fully-fit squad so there won’t be any excuses.”