Kirkley & Pakefield boss ready to play the bad guy
Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong insists he won't be afraid to upset members of his squad if it means keeping the club in the Ridgeons Premier Division.
The Royals chief has brought in three new players over the past week in the shape of Scott Manning, John Miller and Craig Reynolds to increase competition for places at Walmer Road.
Tong believes he now has the experience he has been looking for although he admits he may have to contend with some unhappy players if they are not getting a regular game. However, it's all about safety for the former Great Yarmouth Town manager.
'I know that we are in a dog fight – we've got players playing for the love of the game and expenses and we are trying to bring players through,' he said.
'But at the end of the day it's about results and we need to win football matches.
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'If it means upsetting one or two people then so be it. Players come and go and my first priority is keeping this club in the Premier Division.
'People are disappointed that they are not in the team, but they have got to look at themselves first and foremost and say 'have I done enough to stay in the side?'
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'They have got to take their chance when it comes along. I can't be sympathetic – it's hard on one or two of them. I left Danny Block out of the team and he has shown a great attitude to try and get back into the team – that's what I want to see.
'I might get a bit of stick for bringing more players in, but I know that if we have to go into the battle then I want them with me at my side.
'I'm sure that we will come through it, but we've got to go on a bit of a run.'
Kirkley bowed out of the Ridgeons League Cup at the quarter-final stage after a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Dereham at Walmer Road on Tuesday night.
Tong admitted his side didn't do themselves justice on the night as the Royals couldn't build on the impressive 1-0 win at Woodbridge last weekend.
'We were disappointing against Dereham and we didn't do ourselves justice,' said Tong, who was at least heartened to see Ryan De Coteau make his comeback from injury.
'Dereham looked a lot sharper than us, particularly in the first half – we had one or two players that were off colour and fair play to Dereham because they took their chances.
'Our mistakes got punished and we missed the chances that we did create. To be honest we probably created as many chances as Dereham but they were just a lot more clinical.
'We showed some character and took the game to them in the second half, but it wasn't to be.'
Tong will be putting all his efforts into survival from here on in and he will be looking to see the same resilience his side showed at Woodbridge when they entertain Brantham at home tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
'They were three vital points for us on Saturday, particularly with how the other results went. We were fantastic against what is a very good Woodbridge side.
'We brought a few players into the side and John Miller was outstanding in the middle of midfield. Scott Manning acquitted himself well and I think Cray Reynolds' experience could be crucial to us on the run-in – he is a very good centre half.
'The lads battled really well – Baker worked tirelessly up front and captain marvel Dominic Smith got the goal that mattered – it was a deserved three points.
'But we've got to keep that going. We've got two very tough fixtures coming up in Brantham and Stanway and we've got to rise to the occasion.
'The lads know the target and we are on course to get that but we've still got a lot of work to do.'