Baillie weighs up ‘loan’ options to keep players sharp

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Josh Cooke in action against Didcot Town. Photo: Steve Wood.

FOOTBALL

THOMAS Baillie suggested he might allow some players cameo roles elsewhere to ensure Stratford Town are fully equipped for an increasingly busy Christmas and new year period.
The Town boss was pleased with how the players who took their place in a much-changed side against Didcot Town on Tuesday responded to his call to show him what they could do.
It proved there is depth in the squad but the key is to keep them all match sharp.
Goalkeeper James Behan has linked up with Racing Club Warwick to get game time and other could link up with clubs on short-term arrangements.
“The players who came into the team on Tuesday did well but the question is now whether they can break into the regular when it has been so settled,” said Baillie. “They certainly did themselves no harm.
“What is clear is that with so many games coming up, we need players who will be able to hit the ground running when they play. Maybe rather than sitting on the bench for us, they would be better getting matches somewhere else to blow away the cobwebs.
“They are very much part of the squad, part of our plans but they need to be up to speed and the only way to do that is to play. It might be a case of juggling things to keep everyone match fit.”
Left-back Kieren Westwood and midfielders Claudio Dias and Ross Oulton both got 90 minutes under their belt against Didcot. Wide player Andre Olunkanmi, having joined last month from Cambridge City, played for 83 minutes on his first start and striker Josh Cooke also featured for 70 minutes while new signing Tom Fishwick impressed on his debut in the centre of defence. Fishwick has joined from Redditch United but has also played for Worcester City, Banbury United, Rugby Town and Littleton.
“Tom looked very comfortable against Didcot, he was one of the starring roles,” added Baillie.
“The partnership between Jamie McAteer and Jordan Williams has been very solid for us but Tom did his chances no harm whatsoever.”
McAteer was unavailable for the Didcot game, as a penalty shoot-out win took Town into the quarter-finals of the CSS League Challenge Cup, but he will be back in contention in what should be a fully fit squad on Saturday to face Barwell at the Arden Garages Stadium.