Poppies ready for ‘biggest game of the season so far’

Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie
Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie
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Thomas Baillie believes tomorrow’s (Saturday) trip to Royston Town represents Kettering Town’s “biggest game of the season so far”.

The table-topping Poppies head to a team who were hotly tipped to be battling for promotion in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central this season.

Kettering remain two points clear at the top of the Dtable and are five ahead of tomorrow’s opponents.

And Baillie insists there will be “no excuses” for his team as they are set to make the short trip with a full-strength squad.

Tommy Hull, James Jepson and Lewis Wilson, who plays his final game for the club before returning to Oxford City after a month-long loan, will all be back in the squad while Elliot Sandy is also available after rejoining the Poppies this week.

Joint-boss Baillie said: “I believed at the start of the season that both teams would be right up there and I have seen nothing else to convince me otherwise.

“Saturday is the biggest game of our season so far. We are five points ahead of them and we would love to make that eight.

“We will have to match their work-rate and if we aren’t at the races then they will exploit that.

“Having said that, if we are at the races and we perform to the levels we are capable of then we can win the game.

“It’s going to be a difficult one because we have the likes of Tommy, James, Lewis and also Elliot to come into the squad.

“They are all ready to play so we have some tough decisions to make. But that’s how we want it.

“With the exception of Jonathon Thorpe, who is out long-term, we will have a full squad to choose from so there won’t be any excuses.”

Baillie, meanwhile, expects 17-year-old winger Reubus Richard-Noel to feature in the first-team picture on numerous occasions again this season.

The youngster was handed his first start in the FA Trophy win over Lincoln United last weekend and turned in a man-of-the-match display.

And Baillie is looking forward to seeing more from the teenager, although he insists the club have a duty to be “careful” with him.

“Reubus came into the side last weekend and did exceptionally well,” Baillie said.

“To be honest, he would have been involved in the first team squad a lot more recently had it not been for him suffering from a bit of illness and then an injury.

“But we will be careful with him. He has only just recently turned 17.

“He took his chance in the game against Lincoln and he knows the situation.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he will play in more first team games this season.”

The Poppies’ away league game at Bedworth United, meanwhile, has been reschudled for Tuesday, November 25 (7.45pm).