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Squad has plenty of belief, says Stratford Town boss Baillie

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

HEAD of football Thomas Baillie says Stratford Town’s players have all the belief in the world that they can secure a place in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central play-offs.

The Blues have had their squad’s fitness pushed to the limit recently with a number of Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday fixtures.

However, they have come through that difficult run smelling like roses after draws against Stourbridge and Biggleswade Town as well as victories over Banbury United, Hitchin Town and Needham Market.

And after Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Alvechurch at Lye Meadow, Baillie’s men find themselves third in the table going into Saturday’s away trip to Redditch United.

“Our target is to make sure we are in the play-off places at the end of each month,” Baillie told the Herald.

“You have to remember that nobody expected us to be in this position.

"The players have worked really hard to achieve what they have done so far and they want to keep this run going.

“We’ve caught up on our games in hand on teams around us but we still have a game in hand on the teams in sixth, seventh and eighth which is a bonus.

"There’s great belief in the squad and the lads have earned the right to have that belief.

“There’s a fantastic amount of ability in the squad and if I wrote down our squad next to anybody else’s in this division, I’d fancy our chances because on our day we can beat anyone.

“We are a good team and one which everybody else does not want to come up against as we’re seen as one of the form teams.

“It’s nice to know we are starting to get noticed for what we are doing.

“Admittedly there have been some tired performances in recent weeks but the sign of a good side is to come through with the right result when things are not going your way and that’s happened on a couple of occasions.”

Town should remain in the play-off places regardless of the result on Saturday, but Baillie knows how tough 15th-placed Redditch can be on their day.

“I’m sure their manager (Paul Smith) must be pulling his hair out with how inconsistent his team are,” he said.

“Redditch put on some great performances but then drop away before going on another good run.

"That kind of inconsistency is probably the reason why they are where the are in the table right now, but there’s no doubting they have a good squad with some great players.

“I think if you lined up both of our teams there probably would not be a great deal between them in terms of quality.

“However, what we have in our favour is that we have been more consistent in our games.

“At the end of the day, though, it’s 11 versus 11 and we want to make sure we keep our good run going.”

Baillie is expected to have a full squad at his disposal for the Redditch clash but will be without Dan Summerfield and Curvin Ellis, who have signed dual registration terms with Rugby Town and Gresley respectively in a bid to get more game time.

“Some players I signed with the best intentions but they have simply been unable to break into the squad and it’s very difficult to leave players on the bench every week," said Baillie.

“And with no more midweek fixtures for a while, it’s even harder to give fringe players those minutes they need.”

Baillie also did not rule out any more potential signings, but stressed for the first time in a while Town had a settled squad.

“We’re always looking to improve things and there may be one or two new additions on the horizon,” he said.

“However, we are starting to get a settled squad of 15 to 16 players and you don’t want to affect that too much.”

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