Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong insists he won’t be afraid to wield the axe if complacency starts to creep into his squad.

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The Royals paid the price for a sloppy start at home to Haverhill on Saturday when two goals in the opening four minutes condemned them to defeat.

Tong believes the defeat should act as “a wake-up call” to his players.

“Our attitude hasn’t been good and I think we’ve got complacent. The lads probably looked at the fixture on paper and thought this should be another win for us – unfortunately games aren’t played on paper.

“Haverhill at home probably looked like a bit of a banker to some but it’s a wake-up call for everyone.

“To go two goals down within four minutes was very frustrating – we completely switched off and paid the price for it but you’ve got to give Haverhill credit – they took their chances and we couldn’t find a way back into the game.”

With Lee Hunter and Kyle Baker nearing full fitness Tong insisted he won’t be afraid to shake up his starting XI if the need arises.

“We’re getting some competition for places – Lee Hunter is continuing his way back and Kyle Baker is making good progress – he should be in action for the reserves at the weekend,” he said. “No-one has got a divine right to be in the side. I can’t take anything away from how the lads have been since I’ve come in but we must keep working hard if we are to make the target that I’ve set them.

“We’ve already slipped behind it and it’s time we got ourselves back on track.”

Kirkley head to Woodbridge this weekend with Scott Woodcock still suspended. Tong said he is looking for a much-improved display.

“Woodbridge seem to be a bit more up and down than last year. It’s what we do that matters though – we’ve just got to raise our game and strive for that consistency.”

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