Kirkley & Pakefield boss admits the ‘dogs are barking’ after defeat

Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong admitted the 'dogs are barking' following their 2-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Walham-le-Willows but he remains confident they can pull themselves out of the relegation mire.

Tong has called on supporters to give his young side their full backing during the run-in but acknowledged the management team would take their share of the criticism following the loss at Walsham.

'The lads were obviously down after Saturday but the camaraderie is there despite what other people might say,' he said. 'The dogs are barking at the moment but the management will take that flack.

'We need supporters to get behind the lads – we're a young side that's learning and we need all the help we can get in the last seven games.

'We need to get that consistency – I'm still very confident that we will get out of it and I think we will finish above Walsham. We probably need to be a bit more direct in our approach – points are all that matter at this stage of the season.'

Tong admitted he was bitterly disappointed by the defeat as a late rally from his side was not enough to overturn a two-goal lead despite Ryan Crisp getting back in among the goals.

'It was a bad result but you've got to give credit to Walsham – they raised their game and we didn't raise ours,' he said.

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'We gave a goal away in injury time in the first half and we never really recovered.

'In the second half we were a little bit more positive but a cross deceived Jordan (Smith) to make it 2-0 and it was always going to be an uphill battle from there.

'(Kyle) Baker and Crisp combined well to get us back into it but we couldn't find another way through.

'I've got no excuses – we have to take it on the chin and move on. We're a very young side and that inexperience is perhaps counting against us at times.

'The good to come out of it was that Ryan Crisp looks to be getting back to near his best – that could stand us in good stead for the rest of the season.'

Kirkley face another massive game in the relegation battle tomorrow when they travel to Newmarket Town, who sit second from bottom of the Ridgeons Premier Division.

There is an outside chance that Russell Stock will be included in the squad after stepping up his recovery from an ankle injury.

Tong admitted the Lowestoft Town loanee's return cannot come soon enough.

'There's a chance with Russell (for Saturday) – more likely is that he will be back within a week to 10 days.

'We will be monitoring him in training – he has been having treatment at Lowestoft. If there's no reaction to the injury then he will come into consideration.

'It would be a massive boost for us. He was one of the main reasons why we went seven games unbeaten earlier this season.

'He might not have the legs these days that he used to have but his presence gives some of our younger lads confidence – we are certainly going to need him in the run-in.'

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