Poppies aiming to ‘get back on track’

James Clifton challenges for a header during Kettering Town's defeat to Rugby Town on New Year's Day. The right-back will miss Saturday's trip to Aylesbury United as he serves a one-match ban. Picture by Peter Short

James Clifton challenges for a header during Kettering Town's defeat to Rugby Town on New Year's Day. The right-back will miss Saturday's trip to Aylesbury United as he serves a one-match ban. Picture by Peter Short

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Thomas Baillie is keen for Kettering Town to regroup and “get back on track” as the preparations get under way for Saturday’s trip to Aylesbury United.

The Poppies, like most in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central, saw their home clash with Beaconsfield SYCOB fall foul of the weather at the weekend.

It meant a bit of extra time for Baillie and fellow joint-manager Scott Machin to reflect on what has proved to be a tough couple of weeks for the table-topping Poppies with a 1-0 win at Daventry Town being sandwiched by a 3-1 loss at Northwood and a 1-0 home defeat to Rugby Town on New Year’s Day.

Kettering remain on top of the table but saw their lead cut to four points following Aylesbury’s 4-3 win over Aylesbury United.

But Baillie knows there must be an improvement from his team, starting this weekend.

“We will have everyone in for training tonight (Monday) and it is possibly a good time to take stock of where we are,” the joint-boss said.

“The performances against Northwood, Daventry and Rugby were not what we expected, although I still maintain that we would have gone on to beat Rugby if we had kept 11 men on the pitch.

“What’s happened has happened and it’s up to to us now to get back on track and make sure we get the right reaction from the players.”

Baillie, meanwhile, says he would “not rule out” the possibilities of changes within the squad as the Poppies prepare for the final push.

James Clifton is out of Saturday’s game as he serves a one-match ban following his red card at Daventry while Tommy Hull is also awaiting confirmation of a suspension after he was sent off during the loss to Rugby.

Baillie confirmed Ash Robinson is likely to return to the squad and will be favourite to cover at right-back with Clifton out.

And the joint-manager added: “We have confidence in the squad of players, they have got us to where we are.

“But, as I have said, the performances over the last three games haven’t been what we would expect.

“We are generally happy with what we have but I would not rule out a few changes.”

The Poppies’ clash with Beaconsfield, meanwhile, has now been re-arranged and will be played at Latimer Park on Tuesday, February 3 (7.45pm).