Assistant Baillie wants fans to stay behind the Poppies

Thomas Baillie and Alan Doyle have thrown together a new-look squad for Kettering Town
Thomas Baillie and Alan Doyle have thrown together a new-look squad for Kettering Town

Kettering Town assistant-manager Thomas Baillie is hoping the club’s fans continue to throw their support behind him and boss Alan Doyle in the coming weeks.

The Poppies are preparing for their next ‘home’ game in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division as they take on Bedworth United at Corby Town’s Steel Park on Sunday afternoon (3pm).

Doyle and Baillie have been responsible for steadying the ship on the pitch for Kettering after the club had gone a month without a game due to a lack of players after most of the squad left because of a lack of wages.

The crisis at the Poppies still looks to be far from over with the power remaining cut off at Nene Park while no new information on a proposed takeover by mystery investors has been forthcoming from majority shareholder Imraan Ladak.

But Ritchie Jeune and a group of volunteers are helping to keep the club going with Jeune securing a new two-game agreement with Steelmen chairman Kevin Ingram for Kettering to play at Corby while a deal could yet be struck to cover the Poppies’ home fixtures until New Year’s Day.

Doyle and Baillie have thrown together a new-look squad on no budget whatsoever and, after three successive league defeats, they did register a 3-0 victory at Wellingborough Town in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

Kettering’s first game at Steel Park attracted a crowd of 487 as they were beaten 1-0 by Redditch United.

And assistant-manager Baillie, who previously been involved with Kettering’s youth set-up, is hoping similar numbers will be on hand on Sunday and in future games.

He said: “I would like to thank all the fans for the support over the last few weeks, it has been brilliant and it has made Alan and myself happy to see people smiling at football matches again, even though some of the results could of been kinder.

“We have competed well in three of the four matches and have tried to play football the proper way.

“Fans have been contacting me and thanking me saying it is the best football Kettering Town have played in nearly two seasons. Again that is something I am proud of. We are trying hard to build a competitive squad in a very competitive league.

“Over the years fans have always debated which players are worthy to pull on a Poppies shirt and one thing that can’t be denied now is that every player who is playing for Kettering is doing so out of pride, willingness and determination. Our average age is around 19.7 years old at the moment.

“Other clubs have large budgets but we are building with players who want to be part of the club and I would also like to thank the players for their efforts so far.

“Hopefully now is the time fans will continue to show their support, we had the biggest crowd in the league two weeks ago at Steel Park and hopefully this Sunday will be no different.

“The club has been through a lot lately but there are many people around including Ritchie, Ken (Samuel) and Malcolm (Harris) who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure things are able to happen.

“I just want the fans to know that their support is appreciated and welcomed. I hope we can continue to build for the future.”

As part of the two-game agreement with Corby, Kettering will also play their ‘home’ game with Chesham United at Steel Park on December 9.