Paul Tong still in the dark over his Kirkley & Pakefield future
THE uncertainty over manager Paul Tong's Kirkley & Pakefield future has continued for another week, but the Royals are not letting it get in the way of finishing the season with a flourish.
Scott Manning's second-half strike was enough to secure all three points against high-flying Brantham and, from being in a relegation battle a few weeks ago, Kirkley are now set to finish comfortably in mid-table.
Whether or not Tong will lead the club into the 2012/13 campaign is still open to question, though, with the former Great Yarmouth Town boss hopeful of a resolution following their last game of the season against Haverhill at Walmer Road tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
'It's frustrating, but what will be will be,' said Tong. 'The club has got to do what's best for the club – I respect that and I've got to get on with it.
'I came here to do a job and I've done that. Whatever happens I would like to pay tribute to Marty Hubble, Robbie Horton and Mike Guymer for the help they have given me and the whole club in general has made me feel very welcome.
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'Whatever happens the club is in great shape. Financially it's difficult for all clubs at this level and we've got to keep trying to raise funds.
'Some people perhaps don't quite realise just how much it costs to run a football club.
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'I would like to thank the supporters as well – I know it hasn't always been pretty to watch at times, but the most important thing was to pull ourselves out of trouble.
'We showed on Saturday what we are capable of in seeing off one of the top three teams in the division. At this point I see no reason why I should not be here, but we will wait and see.'
Tong believes the future is very bright for the Royals and feels the club is only a few players away from making a real challenge in the Eastern Counties Premier Division next season.
'I think the big thing is continuity – the club has got a good structure and that's testament to the people that run it,' he said. 'They are big decisions for the club – it's not easy to produce young players and they need to be in good hands.
'I think next season we are only two or three players away from being a top-six side. But the right players have got to be brought in for the right reasons. When the rewards stop then some players won't hang around – that's the nature of the beast. That's why I've got so much respect for players like Russell Stock. He has put something back into the club and you have to praise what he has done.'