Kirkley boss wants to start ‘winning ugly’
Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong wants his side to master the art of 'winning ugly' ahead of the Royals' six-pointer against strugglers Great Yarmouth at Wellesley Road tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
Kirkley bounced back from last weekend's disappointment against FC Clacton to see off Mildenhall in the Ridgeons League Cup on Tuesday evening, but Tong knows the Bloaters will be looking to put one over him after he left the club for Walmer Road earlier this season.
'We've got to be professional – we've got to keep calm and perhaps learn the knack of winning ugly,' he said. 'We've got some big games coming up over December and January and we want to pull away from that relegation zone.
'I've heard about Mike (Derbyshire) offering his resignation, but I'm pleased to see that he is hanging on in there.
'I'm sure their players will be up for it because they will be out to prove a point – they will want to put one over on me.'
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Kirkley will have to do without the services of Kyle Baker who was the victim of a bad tackle against Clacton resulting in a broken leg.
However, Tong believes that no malice was intended from the Clacton player, who just couldn't cope with Baker's trickery.
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'It was competitive, but there was no malice in that challenge. The guy was just late in the challenge because Kyle was too quick for him.
'He has broken his leg and he's going to be out for a period of time. It's a real disappointment for him and we wish him well in his recovery.
'I think if he hadn't have got injured then we would have won the game on Saturday.'
Tong was forced to call upon several youth team players against Mildenhall due to a series of injuries and unavailabilities, but he was delighted with how they responded.
'We had a few of the young lads in and they did ever so well. Myself, Robbie and Marty did a count-up before the game and we made it 15 senior players unavailable.
'We've had to rely heavily on the youth section of the club and it is seeing us through very well.'
Midfielder Max Kirkby was given a run-out and Tong was pleased with how he settled into the game after a difficult start.
'Max has come along to a few training sessions and didn't look out of place, but after 15 minutes against Mildenhall I thought I had made a mistake. I told him to play like Makelele and he was more like ukelele.
'But in fairness to him, he settled down well and contributed to a good team performance. Dominic Smith came good for us again in the second half and his was one of several outstanding displays on the night.'
The club have this week completed the signing of Danny Block, whose pace is a welcome addition to the squad in the wake of Baker's injury.
'We've got a few strikers out, but Danny's pace can be used up there and Taz Grint is forever telling me that he's a striker,' added Tong, who is also having to do without Ryan Crisp, who is currently on trial at the Ipswich Town academy. 'We are a bit short, but it's great that we've been able to bring Russell (Stock) in.
'He has been a breath of fresh air. He is not a youngster any more, but he is getting fit and if we can get a few more players back then we'll be okay.'