Poppies pair to battle it out for the number one spot

Goalkeeper Nick Bennion became Kettering Town's latest signing last week
Goalkeeper Nick Bennion became Kettering Town's latest signing last week

Thomas Baillie believes Kettering Town have gained a “good replacement” for Alastair Worby with the addition of goalkeeper Nick Bennion.

But the Poppies’ joint-manager insists youngster Jamie McAlindon remains a big part of the club’s plans as the two stoppers battle it out for the number one jersey.

Bennion, who has played for Corby Town in the past and was with St Ives Town last season, joined Kettering last week after it was revealed that Worby is unable to commit to training and matches for the new Southern League Division One Central campaign due to work commitments.

He made his debut in the second half of Saturday’s 3-1 friendly defeat at St Neots Town after McAlindon had played in the first period.

And Baillie is hoping both goalkeepers push each other in a bid to make themselves the Poppies’ number one.

“I thought Nick was one of the better goalkeepers in our division last season,” he said.

“That was certainly the case on the occasions he played against us and in the other times we saw him.

“He is a good goalkeeper and he has come in with the right attitude. He wants to be here.

“With Alastair not being able to commit to the training and matches due to his work, I think we have got a good replacement.

“We also see Jamie McAlindon as first-team material and we want him to fight for that place.

“But we are also wary that Jamie is a young lad who needs to be playing so it is a matter of getting the balance right for everyone.

“Hopefully Nick and Jamie will push each other hard for that position.”

Baillie, meanwhile, was pleased with another run-out at the weekend, even though Kettering were without nine first-team players, although Henry Eze featured for the first time in pre-season.

The Kettering joint-manager added: “The players did very well. We were missing a few and I think St Neots were in a similar situation.

“But the run-out did us no harm at all and we found out a few things by giving some players a game in a different position than they are normally used to.

“The likes of James Clifton, Andy Hall and Brett Solkhon put in another brilliant shift for us and the boys are getting plenty of minutes under their belts, which is a good thing.”

Kettering now head to ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division side Harborough Town tomorrow (Tuesday) night before taking on Latimer Park landlords Burton Park Wanderers on Friday evening.