Thomas Baillie has challenged some of Kettering Town’s up-and-coming youngsters to “stake their claim” when they take on Corby Town in the first round of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup at Latimer Park tonight (Tuesday).
The Poppies are set to rest the vast majority of their first-team squad this evening as they prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup second qualifying round home clash with Southern League Division One Central rivals Chalfont St Peter.
Without naming names, Baillie confirmed four of the squad that were beaten 3-2 at Marlow last weekend will play against what is expected to be a strong Steelmen line-up tonight as Corby are currently without a game this Saturday.
But the rest of the Kettering team will be made up of their under-21s, who have made a good start to their ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League season, with their latest success being a 6-0 victory over Football CV Reds last weekend.
And while joint-boss Baillie knows they will be in for the sternest of tests against their Southern League Premier Division neighbours, he is hoping some of them give him and fellow manager Scott Machin something to think about.
“The timing of the game is unfortunate really,” Baillie said.
“I think everyone will understand that the FA Cup game is a huge one for us and we have to make sure we have everyone fit and available for it.
“It would have been nice to field a stronger team but some of the first-team squad who are in desperate need of minutes will get them.
“And it is a chance for the under-21s to test themselves against what is a very strong Corby side.
“I have seen them a couple of times this season and they have started very well and pose a big threat to every team they play.
“It will be a great experience for the young lads and it is a real chance for them to stake a claim for a place in the first-team squad.
“They should remember that a large number of our regular players aren’t much older than them. So, if they put in a decent performance then it will put them right in our thoughts.”
The Poppies, meanwhile, have re-arranged their home league game with Barton Rovers, which was originally due to be played this weekend, for Tuesday, November 4 (7.45pm).