Challinor keen for big role in Poppies’ battle

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Jon Challinor is ready to do all he can to help Kettering Town preserve their Blue Square Bet Premier status.

The experienced midfielder, who came through the ranks at Rushden & Diamonds and has also played for the likes of Exeter City, Cambridge United and Mansfield Town, made his debut for the Poppies as a second-half substitute in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Grimsby Town.

That was Marcus Law’s team’s third successive defeat and it has left them just four points clear of the relegation places.

One of the teams in the drop-zone, Eastbourne Borough, are the visitors to the Elgood’s Arena tomorrow in what looks to already be a crucial clash if the Poppies are to dodge a big battle to avoid demotion back to the Blue Square Bet North.

But Challinor insists he has seen enough from the last two performances to suggest that the Poppies will be fine, although he admitted the comings and goings of players is making it hard at the present time.

“It was a disappointing result on Tuesday,” the 30-year-old said.

“We started quite well and to go 1-0 up and then get beaten was kind of the story so far this season.

“But we have to build on it. We have seen encouraging signs and we have things to work on. We have to keep going, stick together as a team and move on.

“We have to stay positive. We know it’s a transitional period for the club and there is a lot going on.

“But as players we have to keep doing our jobs and work hard in training.

“It will come on the pitch but it’s difficult with players coming and going all the time to keep that continuity.

“It’s hard for the gaffer with the restrictions he has got. But he is wheeling and dealing to bring players in.

“It’s going to take time but we just have to keep working and make sure we get it right on the pitch.

“Like the gaffer has said, we are in a mini-league with the teams in and around us. But we have to concentrate on ourselves.

“I don’t think many people expected us to get anything from the last three games but we have showed encouraging signs.

“If we keep working hard then it will click, it’s just a matter of time.

“The more we train together, the better we will be and hopefully the results will come.”

Challinor’s experience is likely to be useful to Law in the next few weeks.

With the wage bill being slashed recently, the Poppies boss has been forced to bring in a number of young players on loan.

Challinor previously trained with Kettering before joining Newport County but he returned to Northamptonshire and is now ready to help the Poppies in the remainder of the campaign.

And he believes he and the other experienced players have a massive role to play.

“I have played in and around this league for a few years,” Challinor added.

“We have a few young players here and I believe my experience can help both on and off the pitch.

“It’s up to me and the other experienced guys to have cool heads and help the younger lads.

“It’s virtually the same squad that I was training with before I went to Newport.

“I knew the situation Marcus was in and what was happening at the club.

“But I need to play and get some minutes on the pitch.

“I am here to help Kettering and I will do my best to get some good results on the pitch.”