Poppies bosses facing ‘big selection dilemmas’

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

Thomas Baillie believes he and fellow joint-manager Scott Machin will face some “big selection dilemmas” for Kettering Town’s first game of the season on Saturday.

The Poppies kick off the new Southern League Division One Central campaign with a home clash against Aylesbury United.

They rounded off pre-season with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Bashley thanks to two goals from trialist Avelino Vieira and one from Brett Solkhon.

Solkhon, who returned to the club this summer, will miss the weekend’s curtain-raiser as he serves a one-match ban left over from last season.

But Baillie feels there will be even more for him and Machin to ponder over the next few days.

He confirmed the club are set to announce further new signings with the likes of Vieira, former Stamford duo Ash Robinson and Ryan Walker and ex-AFC Rushden & Diamonds frontman Alfie Taylor having all impressed while on trial.

The likes of Dan Crowie and Jonathon Thorpe are both also likely to be added to the equation during two training sessions this week.

And Baillie said: “There is likely to be some news ahead of the new season because we have some lads that we want to get signed up.

“We have some very big selection dilemmas for Saturday. We have to start well and we will have a couple of decisions to make over the starting line-up and even on those who make the 16.

“The next few days will be interesting for us because, due to holidays and injuries, this will probably be the first time we have absolutely everyone together.

“We will be monitoring everyone closely before we name that team for Saturday.”

As far as the final pre-season friendly was concerned, Baillie was delighted to see some of the club’s under-21 players make an impact in the success at Bashley.

“We had a few missing again which was disappointing but that just gave others the chance to impress,” he added.

“And I have to say that some of those took that opportunity.

“The overall performance was good and there were four or five of the under-21s who played a part and showed us that they are not as far away as we might have thought they would be.

“It was another good work-out, it has been a decent pre-season and we are looking forward to getting the serious business started.”

Don’t miss our eight-page pull-out as we look ahead to the new football season in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph