‘Proper non-League pre-season’ awaits the Poppies

Kettering Town manager Dean Thomas and his players will be back in pre-season training on Tuesday

Kettering Town manager Dean Thomas and his players will be back in pre-season training on Tuesday

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Dean Thomas is looking forward to putting his new-look Kettering Town squad through a “proper non-League pre-season”.

The Poppies report back for pre-season training on Tuesday night and play the earliest summer friendly in the club’s history when they head to St Neots Town next Saturday.

With the club’s off-field issues seemingly taking a step in the right direction after Ritchie Jeune’s takeover was confirmed this week, Thomas is now fully focused on on-pitch matters.

And he knows a winning team will be key if the Poppies are to boost a fanbase that has dwindled badly during two chaotic years that have been dominated by financial problems.

However, Thomas has also warned his players and supporters that their team will be there to be shot down during the Southern League Division One Central campaign.

“The most important thing is that the club is on a sound footing,” the Kettering manager said.

“But ultimately, the fanbase will only grow by having a successful team. The fans don’t want to be involved in politics, they want to see their team playing entertaining football and winning matches.

“I share that vision and I am confident we can get the team winning matches in the league we are in.

“It won’ be easy because everyone will want to beat us because we are Kettering Town. That isn’t being big headed, it is just the way it is.

“So we will need players who have great character and players who are willing to work hard from the first moment we get on the training ground on Tuesday.

“I am, by no means, finished in terms of bringing players in but I am very happy with what we have done so far. There is some experience in there and that will be crucial to us.

“It has been a great week for the club but I know the attention will soon be on me and the lads.

“We will get to work on Tuesday, put them through a proper non-League pre-season and make sure they are prepared for what lies ahead.”