Baillie urges Stratford Town to play without fear

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Town's head of football Thomas Baillie (right). Photo: Mark Williamson F5/1/19/1664.

THOMAS Baillie says Stratford Town have nothing to fear when they welcome fellow play-off hopefuls AFC Rushden & Diamonds to the Arden Garages Stadium on Saturday – but stressed his side need to start being more ruthless.

The Blues have won just one of their last six Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central outings and have now dropped outside of the play-off places following Coalville Town’s 3-2 victory over league leaders Kettering Town on Tuesday night.

Town have also only scored one league goal in their last six games and Baillie told the Herald it’s something which needs to change as soon as possible.

“This league is not about how many chances you can create, it’s about how many you can put away and that’s been a problem of ours since September,” he said.

“We’ve got the likes of Nabil Shariff, Mike Taylor, Wilson Carvalho, Lewis Wilson, Dan Creaney, Will Grocott and Albi Skendi in the squad who can all create and score goals.

“It’s not all about individuals scoring the goals, though, because as a group we have to start putting the chances we create away and the lads are working hard in training to try and put that right.”

Diamonds got the better of Town 2-0 just a couple of weeks ago, but Baillie stressed his side have nothing to fear from their fellow play-off hopefuls.

“We did not deserve to lose at Diamonds as we dominated about 60 minutes of the match,” said the Town boss, who is boosted by the return of left-back Cody Fisher from an ankle injury.

“We were also missing our two recognised central defenders to suspension as well as our left-back so we were fitting square pegs into round holes.

“We’ve got nothing to fear and if we perform well then we will take something from the game.

“It’s all about performance levels now and recently we have not been hitting our best all over the park.

“But it’s not just us as the likes of Coalville, Biggleswade and Alvechurch have not been hitting those top levels either.

“There’s still everything to play for and we don’t need to fear Diamonds.”

With an away trip to Coalville on Saturday, 16th March followed by a home game against King’s Lynn Town on Saturday, 23rd March, Baillie knows this month could be crucial in terms of the play-off race.

However, the Town boss said those kind of games should be ones the players are fully hyped up for.

“We have got to remain positive as there is still a long way to go,” he added.

“We wanted our good run to continue, but we’re managers, not magicians, so it’s down to the players to turn the results around.

“We’ve got some big games this month but they should be ones the players need little motivation from me for.

“Every player here should be relishing the chance to play in those big games.”