Top scorer Dubi Ogbonna is set to be fit for Kettering Town’s showdown with title rivals Aylesbury on Saturday.
Poppies joint-manager Scott Machin revealed the striker, who has 14 goals to his name this season, was left out of last weekend’s 2-1 victory over AFC Hayes at Latimer Park as a “precaution” after he picked up a foot injury in training.
But Ogbonna will be back in contention for the biggest game so far this season as the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central leaders entertain an Aylesbury side who sit five points adrift of them in third place.
“Dubi should be fine for Saturday,” Machin said.
“It was more of a precaution than anything to leave him out at the weekend.
“What we didn’t want to do was risk him and face the prospect of him being out for a number of weeks.
“We could have put him on the bench but we decided not to and I think that was the right decision.
“He will be back in the reckoning for this week and everyone knows what he is capable of.
“We have some serious competition for places in those forward areas now because I thought both David Kolodynski and Gary Mulligan were very good for us on Saturday.”
Despite that praise for his frontmen, Machin felt the Poppies were “as poor as we have been for a while” as they scrapped their way to three more points at the weekend.
Kolodynski’s opener was cancelled out and it needed a late Elliot Sandy penalty to secure a victory, which saw Kettering move three points clear of second-placed Bedworth United.
However, Machin believes the players have already move on with the full focus now being on this weekend’s crunch clash.
“It was one of those where you take your points and move on,” Machin added.
“We didn’t play well and it’s probably as poor as we have been for a while to be honest.
“I don’t think the conditions helped but you also have to give Hayes some credit because I thought they played particularly well and didn’t look like a team who are struggling.
“Sometimes you have to give other teams that credit but we got the result we needed and, at this stage of the season, I suppose that’s really all that matters.
“The players have already moved on and they probably don’t dwell on it as much as I do!
“We trained really well on Monday night and there didn’t seem to be any hangover from the performance. Everyone is fully focused and looking forward to Saturday.”
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Mulligan will serve a three-match ban following his red card in stoppage-time against Hayes.
It mean’s the striker will miss the trip to Godalming Town a week on Saturday and the home matches with Leighton Town and Marlow.
Don’t miss a full preview of Kettering Town’s clash with Aylesbury in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph