A matter of time for Poppies but Knight is staying focused

James Clifton is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring Kettering Town's first goal in the 4-1 win over Hanwell Town. But the right-back misses this weekend's trip to Uxbridge as he starts a two-match ban. Picture by Peter Short
James Clifton is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring Kettering Town's first goal in the 4-1 win over Hanwell Town. But the right-back misses this weekend's trip to Uxbridge as he starts a two-match ban. Picture by Peter Short
0
Have your say

The debate about whether Kettering Town will be crowned Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central champions this season appears to be over.

Instead of that, talk has now turned to when the Poppies will clinch the crown.

An 11-game unbeaten run, which has included 10 wins and a draw, have ultimately been too much for the rest as last weekend’s 4-1 victory over Hanwell Town at Latimer Park ensured a 14-point lead at the summit with seven games to go.

The calculators have been out and, with second-placed Bedworth United travelling to Aylesbury this weekend, the Poppies could get a first chance to win the title at St Ives Town a week on Saturday.

For that to happen, however, they will need to win at Uxbridge this weekend.

Kettering have produced a perfectly-timed ‘kick’ even Mo Farah would be proud of.

Their last two displays which saw Egham Town thrashed 5-0 before the dismantling of Hanwell are a sure sign that the Poppies appear to be getting better.

And it has come as no surprise to goalkeeper Richard Knight, who fully accepts the notion of it being only a matter of time until the title and promotion are confirmed.

“The last few weeks have been pretty good,” Knight said.

“We went through a bit of a sticky patch but I think anyone who took a walk across our pitch a few weeks ago would realise just how tough it was to play on there.

“It’s no coincidence that now the pitch has dried up, we have been able to play the way we want and have been scoring more goals.

“It looks like it is a matter of when and not if but we know we have to do things right.

“As a group, I think we have proved that we can handle the pressure.

“If we can get three points on Saturday, we know we are just another step closer.

“And if we get a chance to try to win it at St Ives then so be it, we will treat it as another game to try to win.

“Ultimately, if we carry on playing the way we have been then everything else will take care of itself.”

The 11-game unbeaten run has included five clean sheets and just eight goals conceded – a sure sign of Knight’s impact since he arrived at the end of November.

“As a back four and a goalkeeper, we go out there to keep clean sheets and it’s frustrating when that doesn’t happen,” he added.

What I have had to do has been minimal and I am sure Jamie (McAlindon) would agree that we have had games where it has been boring!

“It’s important to concentrate because, from time-to-time, saves have to be made and the one at the end of the (1-0) win at Godalming was probably a good example.”

The Poppies will be without right-back James Clifton who starts a two-match ban but Tommy Hull should return after missing the win over Hanwell because of illness.