Westwood is ready for ‘monumental’ matches

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Ashley Westwood believes every game for Kettering Town between now and the end of the season can be described as “monumental”.

The Poppies head to fellow strugglers Hayes & Yeading United tomorrow knowing that only a win will do as they sit seven points from safety in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Caretaker-manager Westwood was at the Impact Arena on Tuesday night to watch Alfreton Town thrash Stockport County 6-1 – a result that opened up a healthy gap between the Reds and the relegation zone.

It’s been a troubled season for the Poppies with financial issues dominating the headlines for a large part of it.

George Rolls is now firmly involved at the club as he looks to stop it from going out of existence ahead of a potential takeover at the start of next month.

But on the pitch, the fight is heading for breaking point with Westwood’s team realistically needing six or seven wins out of 11 matches to give themselves any sort of chance of avoiding the drop.

It’s a big ask but it’s a challenge Westwood is up for.

“In my eyes, every game between now and the end of the season is monumental,” he said.

“But we won’t be making any special arrangements for tomorrow’s game, it’s the same as every other.

“There is no extra pressure. We know where we are and we have to go there and try to win.

“Before Tuesday, Stockport had got back-to-back wins and they looked like being safe but they have gone to Alfreton and had a heavy defeat.

“It just shows that a couple of good results can make all the difference and that’s what we have to go after.

“No-one at the bottom is going on a massive run so a couple of wins gets you right back in the frame.

“We have had Hayes watched and they are inconsistent.

“But, like most sides in the league, they are capable of beating anyone on their day.

“It makes it harder for us being away but first and foremost we have to get the performance right.”

Westwood has been running the rule over a number of players this week, including striker Ben Joyce who was at Rolls’ former club Weymouth.

But with a transfer embargo still being in place, it is hard for the manager to add new players to a threadbare squad.

“We had a practice match on Tuesday and had 10 or 11 out of contract players involved and we had a few back in training yesterday,” he added.

“It’s a question of whether we are allowed to bring anyone in and we will have to check on that.”

There may be a bit of brighter news on the injury front ahead of tomorrow, however.

Marcus Kelly was back in training yesterday, David Bridges is likely to continue at centre-half after suffering an injury at the end of last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to Wrexham and Patrick Noubissie is available again after suspension.

Djoumin Sangare, however, is still struggling with a hamstring problem while Jerel Ifil serves the second of a three-match ban.

Youngster Ben Ford impressed as a substitute in last weekend’s loss and Westwood admitted he is an option for his side.

“There is a big difference in coming on in a game like that to actually starting, especially when there is pressure on it and we need a win,” Westwood added.

“We will have a look at him again in training but he is definitely an option for us.”