Thomas: No better game to return in than a derby for Poppies

Poppies boss Dean Thomas is hoping his team will return to action in a Northamptonshire derby at Daventry Town tonight
Poppies boss Dean Thomas is hoping his team will return to action in a Northamptonshire derby at Daventry Town tonight

Dean Thomas believes there is “no better game” for Kettering Town to return to action in than tonight’s (Tuesday) Northamptonshire derby at Daventry Town.

The Poppies will be hoping to play only their fourth game this year as they are set to make the short trip across the county to take on another of the play-off contenders in the Calor League Division One Central.

Thomas’ side, who saw their home clash with AFC Hayes become the latest victim of the recent downpours at the weekend, now find themselves five points off fifth-placed Royston Town, albeit with two games in hand.

And the Kettering boss knows his team are in for a stern test this evening against a Daventry team, who are two points ahead of the Poppies and have yet to taste defeat at their Communications Park home.

But Kettering remain unbeaten in 13 league matches and Thomas believes they have the right mentality ahead of what looks set to be a thrilling scramble for the play-off places in the final couple of months of the season.

“We have been preparing as well as we possibly can while not having any games,” the Poppies boss said.

“We have developed a winning mentality over the past three months and that is something we will need to maintain in the games we have left.

“There is no doubt about it, it is a very big game tonight. Daventry have done extremely well this season and it is a local derby as well.

“It is going to be very difficult for us but it is a fantastic game to get back into.

“We will have to match their work rate. I have seen them a few times and they work very hard for each other.

“We have to make sure we don’t open the door for them as well as making sure we carry a threat ourselves.

“We have good attacking players who will create chances. I am sure Daventry will know all about us and it should be a good game for what will hopefully be a big crowd as well.”

Thomas confirmed there is a doubt over striker Dubi Ogbonna who is carrying a knock but the Poppies’ period of inactivity has allowed defender Dan Crowie to recover from an ankle injury and he is likely to be in the squad for tonight’s clash.

But goalkeeper Denham Hinds is still ruled out, meaning young stopper Jamie McAlindon remains in line to make his league debut for the club.