Baillie urges perspective as Poppies prepare to take on Weymouth

Poppies boss Thomas Baillie (right) and assistant-manager Dean Thomas are preparing their team to take on Weymouth tonight
Poppies boss Thomas Baillie (right) and assistant-manager Dean Thomas are preparing their team to take on Weymouth tonight

Thomas Baillie has urged the Kettering Town supporters to be realistic about the remainder of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division campaign when it comes to on-the-field matters.

The Poppies take on Weymouth at Corby Town’s Steel Park stadium tonight (7.45pm) as they look to halt a run of seven successive league defeats, which have moved them ever closer to relegation.

In what has been another dismal season in the club’s history, the hope of a brighter future has emerged over the last week or so with Ritchie Jeune, who is running the club along with other volunteers, revealing the club could relocate to Burton Park Wanderers’ Latimer Park for the start of next season.

Any such move would be subject to the club being released of its long-term lease at Nene Park while Jeune has again admitted he would be interested in taking over the club from current majority shareholder Imraan Ladak.

The club are also seeking special dispensation from the Southern League to allow them extra time beyond the deadline of the end of March to bring Latimer Park up to the required standard.

On the pitch, however, the difficulties remain in place with Baillie, who took over from Alan Doyle two weeks ago, having to deal with a reduced budget and a squad of players severely out of form.

The Poppies are 19 points from safety going into tonight’s clash after the 3-1 defeat to Arlesey Town on Sunday. And with relegation looking a certainty, Baillie insists a sense of perspective is needed.

“We are playing against teams who have players on their bench that we couldn’t afford, that is the situation we find ourselves in,” the Kettering manager, who is being assisted by former Hinckley United boss Dean Thomas, said.

“With the resources we have available it is good news that we are even competing with these sides. And we have competed well in the vast majority of matches.

“I can understand the fans’ frustrations. Everyone wants to see their team winning games and we haven’t been doing that.

“But I think we all need to be realistic about the situation we find ourselves in. I am fine with it because no-one wants to see the club spending money it hasn’t got. It was doing that the caused all the problems in the first place.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t try. In fact we will probably try harder than anyone else to put an end to this run we are on.”

Weymouth will still hold hopes of gaining a play-off place at the end of the season and, with a trip to a struggling side in the form of Redditch United to come on Saturday, Baillie believes his players will do all they can to get some much-needed wins on the board.

“It is a quick turnaround for us after Sunday and that is a good thing,” Baillie added.

“We have to pick ourselves up quickly and then we have another important game at Redditch on Saturday.

“Weymouth are another side who have a much bigger budget than we do and they have been going well. It will be another tough game.

“But if we can perform like we did in the second half against Arlesey then we will give ourselves a good chance.”

Find the latest Poppies news in tomorrow’s Northants Telegraph and visit this website for a match report and reaction from tonight’s game with Weymouth