Poppies full of confidence for the big run-in, says Gooding

Andy Gooding insists Kettering Town are full of confidence as they chase a play-off place in the Calor League Division One Central
Andy Gooding insists Kettering Town are full of confidence as they chase a play-off place in the Calor League Division One Central

Andy Gooding insists the Kettering Town squad is full of confidence as they prepare themselves for what looks like being a frantic run-in for the play-off places in the Calor League Division One Central.

With Dunstable Town and Rugby Town looking set to battle it out for the title, no fewer than seven teams are in contention for the three other places in the top five.

A 13-match unbeaten run in the league has made the Poppies one of those teams and they will be hoping to get back into action against another when they head to seventh-placed Northwood tomorrow (Saturday), although the weather is doing its best to ensure it will be another blank weekend.

Should it go ahead, it will be the first of a number of crucial games to come against teams in and around them and midfielder Gooding believes the feeling within the Poppies camp couldn’t be any better, despite the weather ensuring matches have been few and far between since the turn of the year.

“It has been really stop-start since the end of December and that has been frustrating for us because we have been in good form,” Gooding said.

“When you are on a decent run, all you want to do is play and hopefully we can get back to it this weekend.

“We have got to play near enough everyone in and around us between now and the end of the season and we are feeling confident for every game we play.

“The whole club seems to have a buzz about it and the dressing-room is certainly full of confidence.

“The fans are right behind us and even our away matches feel like they are at home with the numbers we have been taking with us.

“The supporters are making themselves heard wherever they go and that is making it enjoyable to play for them.”

Gooding is one of a few players who started the season with Kettering and still remains after boss Dean Thomas made wholesale changes following a poor start.

Those changes have had the desired effect and Gooding, who played under Thomas for a number of years at Hinckley United, added: “I think there is only a handful of us who have been here since the start of the season.

“For whatever reason, the squad we had at the start didn’t gel. That’s the way it is sometimes.

“The manager has made changes and it has worked. Every player who has come in has brought something different to the squad.”

Should tomorrow’s game go ahead, it is likely to see youngster Jamie McAlindon play in goal for the Poppies after boss Dean Thomas revealed Denham Hinds is facing “a few weeks” on the sidelines after suffering a gash on his ankle.

But Henry Eze is back in the Kettering squad after a month away in Nigeria where he got married.

Dan Crowie will be out for another couple of weeks with an ankle problem but Elliot Sandy is fit after a thigh problem.