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Baillie believes Stratford Town can make surprise push for play-offs

Stratford Town head of football Thomas Baillie.
Stratford Town head of football Thomas Baillie.

THOMAS Baillie says there is a belief in his Stratford Town squad that they can compete for a play-off spot in Southern League Premier Central this season.

Town have enjoyed a fine run of league form of late, picking up seven points from a possible nine.

It leaves them in 11th place, just three points off the play-off places and Town’s head of football believes his side are more than capable of springing a surprise and finishing in the division’s top five.

Town face a true test of those play-off credentials this weekend when they go to King’s Lynn, a side expected to be fighting for honours at the end of the season despite a rocky start to their campaign.

“We want to be in the top of half of the table,” Baillie insisted.

“We also want to be within a chance of sneaking into the play-offs. Whether that is possible this season, I don’t know, but that’s ideally what we’d like.

“The season must be kept alive, so in either February or March we are in with a shout. It’s a tough leaguue, but with hard work we can go on a run. On the flip side, if we’re not on it, then we can lose four in a row.

“We’re all managers, not magicians, but my aim is to be in the hunt for as long as possible. There will always be a surprise team up there and there’s a chance it could be us.”

Town now turn their focus on what is likely to prove to be one of the toughest tests of the season so far at King’s Lynn.

Baillie will be using the game as a chance to assess a squad, he feels, needs slimming down.

“King’s Lynn are a big club in this division,” he said. “They will be in the play-offs come the end of the season. We have been on a good run, but with no disrespect to the teams we have played lately, we have been expected to beat them.

“Saturday is our first proper test since the Kettering Town game and it will give me the opportunity to find out where this squad is. I will judge players based on what they do in games like Saturday’s.”

One player who will not feature at The Walks is striker Jazz Luckie, who has agreed to join ex-Town boss Darren Byfield at Walsall Wood on a loan deal.

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