Ridgeons Football League
Published 20th July 2012
......getting carried away by his side’s 2-0 win against near-neighbours Lowestoft Town in a pre-season friendly at Walmer Road on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Ross King and Ryan Crisp gave the Royals a surprise victory against the Ryman League Premier Division side, who were taking part in their first match of the pre-season campaign.
And while Tong was delighted with the performance of his side, he hopes his players can aspire to the level of class Lowestoft showed sporadically in midweek.
“I’m pleased for everyone at the club,” he said. “For them to bring that quality of player to play us was a great experience for our boys.
“I’d like to thank them because it gives my lads an opportunity to see what they have got to achieve. They have got some quality players and they kept the ball fantastically well and nine times out of ten they would have beaten us.
“But we showed that we’ve got some quality players as well and that’s important for confidence.”
Tong paid tribute to King, who opened the scoring in the first half and believes the striker can play a vital role in the season ahead.
“Ross will help the younger players along. Russell Stock was feeling a bit sore from Saturday and we decided Ross deserved a start and he played really well. He helps people like Crisp and Kyle Baker, who were both also excellent.”
It has not all been plain sailing for the Royals over the past week, however, after new signing Lee Hunter broke his leg in the friendly against Ipswich Town under-18s on Saturday.
“I’m devastated for him – he wanted to play for his home-town club,” added Tong. “He was tracking back to block a cross and his leg just went from under him.
“The lads were saying that’s the first time he has defended in his life! But seriously he has bought into what we are trying to do. The nature of football though is that one player’s misfortune is another’s opportunity.”
Tong is not planning to bring anyone else in to compensate for the loss of Hunter who is expected to miss the first three months of the season.
The Kirkley chief instead prefers to look to the youth section of the club to see if anyone can make the jump to senior football.
“We’ve got a good squad of players here and someone else will step up,” he said. “I don’t feel like we need to bring anyone else in – we have got some very good youngsters that can also come in and we are trying to make them feel part of the club.”
Ryan De Coteau has re-signed for Kirkley, despite initially indicating at the start of the summer he would look to move elsewhere.