STRATFORD Town’s players have set new standards with their unbeaten run – but Thomas Baillie insists they can still do better.
A 3-2 win against Leiston last Saturday extended an undefeated run in all competitions to seven matches and left them 11th in the Evo-Stik South Premier Central table.
On Saturday, attention turns to the FA Trophy when Town meet league rivals Alvechurch at Lye Meadow in a third different cup competition this term.
Church won the sides’ FA Cup meeting in September but Baillie’s men swept to a League Cup victory ten days ago at Lye Meadow and Stratford have shown they should fear no-one.
“We have come a long way over these past few weeks,” said Baillie. “We’ll have some tough games going forward, but we’ve shown now that we can compete in this league and we want to compete in the top part of it.
“Where can it go from here? It’s in the players’ hands now. They have set themselves a level over the last few weeks and now we’d like to be knocking around the play-offs when it comes to the final stages of the season.
“What we want to do is keep the season alive as long as we possibly can. One of the players mentioned to me that maybe over the last year or so it’s been a case of being happy to survive and stay in the league. That’s not why we’re here. We’re here to try finish as high up the table as possible.
“We’ll have our blips, but come February or March time we want to be around about the play-offs. There’s a lot of hard work to do – there’s some big, big clubs in this league and an exorbitant amount of money being spent by some. We have to deal with that and we will.”
Baillie is continuing to look to improve the squad and revealed he is chasing an additional striker to ease the burden on centre-forward Mike Taylor.
“At the moment, Mikey’s playing up there on his own, so we probably need to add an additional striker to the squad, someone who can go and score us some goals,” added Baillie.
“We are in the final stages of agreeing something with a very good player. I’d be excited to see him here.”
One certainty is that Stratford will head to Alvechurch in positive mood. Not only has confidence risen but so, says Baillie, has the inner drive.
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve won some games we were expected to win, but now we’ve also won some games against the tougher teams in this league,” he added. “What the lads have got is they’re showing desire now and about four or five weeks ago they didn’t have that desire.
“In fairness to Steve Walker, their fitness levels are superb. You can see even at King’s Lynn they really were struggling to keep up with us in the final 20 minutes.”
After a man-of-the-match show against Leiston, Wilson Carvalho is becoming a key figure and Baillie praised his contribution.
“Wilson has shown what he is capable of. He is a great player and a real talent,” he said. “Wilson has needed to provide us with more, he knows that, we’ve had the conversations. He’s now shown us what he can do.
“He’s a cracking lad too, a fantastic person off the pitch. He’s now set the level where we need him to be.”