Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong delighted with Royals’ start
Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong believes the club is reaping the benefits of 'everyone working in the same direction' after the Royals enjoyed a promising start to their Thurlow Nunn Premier Division campaign.
A point at Ely on the opening day was followed up on Tuesday with a 2-1 win at Diss Town as Tong's men carried their promising pre-season form into the new campaign.
The former Great Yarmouth boss believes the fact that all facets of the club now have a common goal, from the youth section to the seniors, has provided an environment for the club to flourish on the pitch.
'I actually think we've got a proper club now with everyone working in the same direction,' said Tong. 'That's a credit to everyone behind the scenes, we've got a very hard working committee. They put a lot of their own time and effort in to pull it all together.
'Myself, Marty Hubble, Matt Barbrook and Ian Griffin – we are just the ones that are steering the ship.
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'As a manager it's really appealing to be working with these young players to see if they can make that progression and establish themselves in the senior side.'
Tong admitted the challenge for his players is to carry the form they have showed so far a long way into the season.
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'We've had an excellent start – we've taken the form we showed in pre-season into the first couple of games which is really good to see,' he added. 'Hopefully we can kick on from here –there's a great spirit in the camp, they are all working for each other and we've made a really promising start.
'If someone has got an injury we've had people come in and do a very good job – as a manager that's what you want to see.
'But we've got to keep our focus and our discipline and see how far it can take us.'
Strikers Ross King and Ryan Crisp have taken the plaudits so far with two goals apiece but Tong was keen to praise the work going on behind them.
'They are scoring the goals but it's not just about them,' he said. 'Everyone is chipping in – I was really glad to see Jordan Smith put in such a good performance against Diss.
'He made an uncharacteristic mistake against Ely but he made some crucial saves on Tuesday.'
Kirkley must shelve their league form for the time being this weekend when they welcome Sawbridgeworth to Walmer Road (kick-off 3pm) in the FA Cup preliminary round.
Tarren Grint is a doubt after injuring his toe whilst both Scott Manning and Max Kirby are unavailable due to other commitments.
'We want a run in it (the FA Cup) both from a financial and a football point of view,' said Tong. 'It will be a tough game – the Essex Senior League is a decent standard. It would be great to have a run but we must just focus on what we have been doing so far.'