Thomas relishing a “massive challenge” at Poppies

Dean Thomas (left) has been confirmed as Kettering Town's new manager while Thomas Baillie is staying with the club as his assistant

Dean Thomas (left) has been confirmed as Kettering Town's new manager while Thomas Baillie is staying with the club as his assistant

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Dean Thomas is relishing a “massive challenge” after he was appointed the new manager of Kettering Town.

The vastly-experienced former Hinckley United boss has taken over the position from Thomas Baillie, who will stay with the club as Thomas’ assistant.

The Poppies have moved quickly to make the appointment following the club’s second successive relegation, which means they are likely to be plying their trade in the Southern League Division One Central next season.

There are, of course, still a number of off-field hurdles in front of them with a winding up petition from HM Revenue & Customs to settle while Ritchie Jeune also targets a takeover from Imraan Ladak as well as getting them out of the long-term lease at Nene Park.

Jeune’s hope is for the club to move back into the borough at Burton Latimer in the future following the financial problems that almost saw it go under in October last year.

But Thomas insists he will leave the “politics” to those behind the scenes. And he wasted little time in admitting that promotion will be the aim on the pitch next season.

Thomas said: “It is a big job and a pressure job. It is a massive challenge that I am relishing.

“From my point of view, we will concentrate fully on football.

“The politics have been dealt with by those behind the scenes and they will continue to look after that side of things.

“What we have to do is to capture the imagination of the fans and we will that is what we will try to do.

“The fanbase is bigger than the attendances at the end of last season would suggest and they will want to see a winning team, it is our job to give them that.

“We want to go and get ourselves promotion. Promotion is a big word and nobody can think for a minute that we will have a divine right to win matches. Every team will want to beat us and every game will be a cup final.”

Baillie appointed Thomas as his number two after taking over from previous boss Alan Doyle during last season.

And Thomas insists Baillie staying at the club wasn’t about “doing him a favour” as he believes his contacts will be a big advantage in the future.

“I was pleased that Thomas gave me the chance to get back into football,” the new Poppies manager added.

“He has a lot to offer so him staying as my assistant certainly wasn’t a case of doing anyone any favours.

“He has a lot of contacts locally. Put that together with the contacts I have and I think it works well, the club will benefit because of it.”