Baillie calls for unity in Poppies’ title bid

James Clifton is available for Kettering Town again this weekend after serving a one-match ban
James Clifton is available for Kettering Town again this weekend after serving a one-match ban

Thomas Baillie has called for a united front as Kettering Town aim to get their title bid back on track at Latimer Park this weekend.

The Poppies are due to entertain Egham Town tomorrow (Saturday), although the game will be subject to a 9am inspection with the pitch still holding standing water in places following a preliminary look at it by a local official today.

Kettering battled back from 2-0 down to claim their first draw of the season at Aylesbury United last Saturday.

And it proved to be a good point gained when second-placed Aylesbury were beaten at Royston Town as the Poppies extended their lead at the top of Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central to five.

But joint-boss Baillie has admitted his team have been through a tough spell with the last four games returning just four points.

And he believes now is the time for “everyone to unite” as they begin the final push for automatic promotion.

“We have had a patch that we have not really been used to for a while,” the Poppies manager said.

“There is a variety of reasons for that but, ultimately, we have not picked up enough points from the last four games.

“With the matches we have coming up, it’s time to bring it all to a head, for everyone to unite and for us to try to surge on from here.

“We need the fans with us, even at home it has a tendency to be a bit quiet even though there are 700 people in the ground.

“We want to make the next five, six, seven games a really exciting time and ensure we march towards the place where we want to be.”

Baillie, meanwhile, knows his team will have to be ready for a physical battle when they take on an Egham team, who currently sit in 10th place.

“Egham are a strange team, they have a fantastic home record and we are one of just a few to have won there this season,” he added.

“Last season, I thought they were up there with the better teams we played against and they do have some very good players.

“They will come here with no expectation on them and they will make it very hard for us.

“They are physically very strong so we have to be prepared for that.”

Baillie confirmed that both goalkeeper Jamie McAlindon and striker Dubi Ogbonna should be back in contention for the weekend after they missed last Saturday’s draw due to illness.

The Poppies will be without midfielder Tommy Hull who begins a two-match ban but full-back James Clifton is available again after serving a one-game suspension.