Jon Dunham – Is it that time of year already?

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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Is it really that time of year already?

Indeed it is. Pre-season is now in full swing and thoughts are gradually turning towards the start of the new football season.

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks from tomorrow, Northampton Town will be playing their first match of the new League Two campaign – talk about an early start.

But it is already interesting times for our local clubs with Corby Town and Kettering Town both very much having a change in tact for the new season.

The Steelmen got their pre-season programme under way with a 4-0 defeat to Cambridge United in midweek but there is plenty of work for Chris Plummer to do over the next few weeks.

It looks like he has made some canny moves in the transfer market with the likes of Tom Berwick, Mark Arber and Chris Carruthers all coming in while key members of last season’s squad have been retained.

But, as he acknowledged in the aftermath of the Cambridge game, the squad is still a bit thin at this point and we can definitely expect more incomings at Steel Park.

Corby have made no secret of what they want to do in the new season. Having been relegated on the final day of last season, they want to push for promotion at the first attempt in the Calor League Premier Division.

It certainly won’t be easy for them but I am glad Plummer has been given the chance to try to lead the Steelmen back at the first attempt, it would have been easy for the club to turn their back on him at the end of the last campaign.

For the Poppies, it hasn’t just been a case of building a new squad. More a case of rebuilding the whole club.

Ritchie Jeune’s takeover seems to have sparked new life into a club that limped along during the second half of last season after the financial problems threatened to send it into oblivion.

Hopes remain high that they can start the Calor League Division One Central season in the new surroundings of Latimer Park, although a key date in court on Monday as they look to stave of the winding up petition from Rushden & Diamonds (2008) Ltd must be negotiated before anything else.

On the pitch, Dean Thomas seems to have thrown together a decent squad thus far with a good mix of youth and experience.

Knowing Thomas, he will be keen to see his team challenging for honours. One would think the Poppies fans will just be glad if their club can get through the season without any sort of catastrophic event unfolding while maybe winning a few games along the way.

They have enjoyed a couple of wins either side of a defeat at Peterborough Northern Star and their victory over Harborough Town in midweek seemed to have an emphatic feel to it.

The on-pitch matters at both clubs will take care of themselves. And this season, more than any other, it is pretty difficult to predict how either of them will go.

But we may be getting ahead of ourselves slightly.

After all, there are still four weeks before their respective campaigns start. And if the last couple of years have taught us anything, it is that anything can happen in that space of time...