14th Dec, 2019

Baillie and Town ready for tough challenges ahead

STRATFORD Town boss Thomas Baillie warned the challenge will only get tougher as they look to step up their play-off push.

Town felt satisfied with eight points from a possible 12 over the festive period to leave them in fifth place in the Evo-Stik South Premier Central.They lie only two points off third spot, though only six points separate third and 12th in a congested table.

Head of football Baillie stressed Town need to keep up the momentum when they welcome 11th-placed Alvechurch to the Arden Garages Stadium tomorrow (Saturday) and then entertain second-placed Kettering Town in a CSS Challenge League Cup quarter-final tie on Tuesday.

Next Saturday, they visit Tamworth, who snapped up Town top scorer Mike Taylor before Christmas.

After 2-1 wins against St Neots Town and Banbury United, Town had to settle for a point apiece from goalless draws with leaders Stourbridge last Saturday and then away to fellow high-fliers Biggleswade on New Year’s Day.

“From the four games over the festive period we have taken eight points with two wins followed by two draws, and we would certainly have taken that at the start,” coach Steve Walker told the Stratford Town Independent Supporters Association website.

“We are now up to fifth with games in hand on the other play-off contenders and we look forward to pushing on in the second half of the season.”

Town have been busy in bolstering their ranks in recent weeks with the arrival of on-loan goalkeeper Matija Sarkic, a Montenegro U21 international, from Aston Villa, former Stourbridge and Coleshill striker Shane Benjamin from Nuneaton Borough, former AFC Telford United, Hereford and Tamworth defender Dan Preston and midfielder Mo Sebbeh Njie from Redditch United plus the returns of Nabil Sharriff and Dan Summerfield.

Striker Sharriff had a brief spell at the stat of the season under Darren Byfield and has rejoined from St Neots while versatile defender Summerfield spent two years with Town before leaving early this campaign with spells at Redditch and Bedworth United.

But Stratford will be without full-back Chris Cox for up to six weeks after he suffered a broken foot against Banbury.

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