Interest in Poppies is high, says interim boss Baillie

Kettering Town interim joint-manager Thomas Baillie
Kettering Town interim joint-manager Thomas Baillie

Thomas Baillie insists he has been taken aback by the interest from players wishing to join Kettering Town for next season.

The Poppies have so far brought only one new name into the squad ahead of the new Calor League Division One Central campaign for legendary midfielder Brett Solkhon rejoining the club after a three-year stint at Brackley Town.

But Kettering did move quickly to secure the services of the vast majority of last season’s squad, which missed out on promotion when they were beaten 3-2 by Slough Town in the play-off final.

The surprise departure of manager Dean Thomas due to work commitments resulted in assistant-boss Baillie and coach Scott Machin being named joint-managers on an interim basis.

And Baillie has admitted his phone has been red hot with interest from other players, who are keen to be at Latimer Park for the start of the new campaign.

“The difference between this time last year and this year is incredible,” Baillie said.

“Last year the club were in a position where they didn’t really know what the future held so recruiting players was something of an issue.

“But, after the way things worked out as the season went on, the club has re-established itself and that has resulted in players wanting to come here.

“The interest has been huge and we could probably hold trials for weeks on end.

“But the truth is we already have some very good players here, they proved that last season and our squad is already looking strong, especially if you add someone like Brett Solkhon into the equation.

“With the likes of Henry Eze, James Clifton and Steve Kinniburgh, our defence looks good and in Dubi Ogbonna and Josh Moreman, we probably have two of the best strikers at this level.

“As it stands, the finishing touches need to be made and the club will also have a decision to make over the managerial situation. But we are pleased that players want to join Kettering, it shows that good things have happened.”

Player-of-the-year Eze became the latest player to commit his future to the Poppies earlier this week while youngster Harry Beckley was also confirmed as a signing for the new campaign.