A hectic last month of the season could work in Kettering Town’s favour according to first-team coach Steve Kinniburgh.
The pitch at Latimer Park has forced several postponements over a wet winter meaning the Poppies now have to negotiate nine matches – including a Hillier Senior Cup final against AFC Rushden & Diamonds – in the space of 22 days.
It is a tough prospect, but one Kinniburgh believes they will relish.
“We’re used to this at Kettering – it’s the way we’ve done it for the last three seasons now,” he laughed. “Everyone talks about having a winter break – well that’s what we do here!
“Over the last two years we’ve had a good late run and pushed ourselves into the play-offs and then to a league title. I think it can help you.
“We’re doing the same again now and we’re in great form. It can help you build that momentum.
“We had four or five weeks during the winter where we didn’t have much football.
“That gave us the chance to get together and build a strong team – something we couldn’t do earlier in the season.
“We’ve got a consistent squad together now with a really good core there. We’ve brought some good players in and also have some young talent coming through.”
The Poppies have five of their remaining eight Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division matches at home and, bearing in mind they have lost just twice all season at Latimer Park, that is a big advantage.
However, with their fellow tenants Burton Park Wanderers having their last seven matches all still to be played at home, the pitch could prove a problem.
Not that Kinniburgh is too concerned.
“You could say it would be nice to go out on a beautiful, green pitch, pass the ball around and hopefully drag the opposition out a little bit – but we know that’s not going to happen.
“We know what the pitch is like and, to be honest, it doesn’t worry us.
“We’ve been on a great run through February and March and now we’re just going into games expecting to do well and enjoy it.
“We know we’re nowhere near being over any lines, though, so we need to give it a massive push and continue this good run.”