Ashley’s sure Poppies can get out of trouble

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Ashley Westwood insists Kettering Town still have a “good chance” of getting out of trouble in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

With the well-documented off-field problems firmly out of his hands, the caretaker-manager has been consistent in keeping his focus on on-field matters.

Whether survival in the Blue Square Bet Premier is ultimately sacrificed for the club’s long-term future remains to be seen but the Poppies head to mid-table Braintree Town tomorrow looking to get back to winning ways after two defeats this week.

A 3-0 loss at Barrow was followed by a disappointing performance in midweek as Forest Green Rovers triumphed 3-1 at Nene Park after opening the scoring inside the first two minutes.

Westwood admitted that goal knocked the spirit out of his team and it resulted in a flat display to go along with a flat atmosphere from the club’s dwindling support.

It felt as though the off-field issues finally took over the club on Tuesday but Westwood is determined to hit back.

And he is looking for a quick start from his players, who have only received a small percentage of their wages for the past two months, when they travel to Essex tomorrow.

“We need to get our spirit back a bit because we had it knocked out of us early on Tuesday,” Westwood said.

“We will be working hard and I will be looking for us to start the game well tomorrow and see if we can get the first goal.

“We are very much in a mini-league from 16th place downwards.

“The results went for us the other night so there was no ground lost.

“We need to start winning sooner rather than later and if we can stay in that pack and stay competitive then I am sure we have a good chance of climbing the table.”

Hopes had been high for the trip to Barrow and the home clash with Forest Green after two successive wins before the cold snap ensured there was no on-field action for three weeks.

But Westwood has acknowledged that his team were beaten by two clubs who have few problems off the field at the moment and two that seem settled, quite the opposite to his own club.

And he insists there is no chance of anyone underestimating a Braintree team that has established itself in mid-table after winning promotion last season.

“Barrow went and beat Luton in midweek so it shows that they are decent side and we performed well up there without taking our chances,” he added.

“Forest Green are in and around the play-offs and they have a good budget.

“They will win plenty of games between now and the end of the season.

“We have come out of those games with good credit but not the results we needed and wanted.

“We go away tomorrow and it will be tough.

“It’s never easy on the road and statistically only a quarter of away matches are won.

“Braintree had a great start then had a bad patch and now they seem to be turning it around again.

“It will be a tricky game, they are a good side and we will need to be fully focused.”

Alan Devonshire’s team will be boosted by the returns of strikers Ben Wright and Britt Assombalonga tomorrow.

Wright will be well-known to Poppies fans after he scored three goals in a loan spell for the club at the end of the 2008-09 campaign.