Making sure it is home sweet home is what matters now

Kettering will this weekend hope to secure a home play-off
Kettering will this weekend hope to secure a home play-off

Home comforts are what it is all about this weekend as the league season comes to an end.

However, while the regular campaign may be finishing, there is still plenty left to play for at both Waverley Road and Occupation Road.

The play-offs beckon for Kettering and Oundle with their places in the ‘after season’ all-but confirmed.

The Blues have secured second place in Midlands One East and the Eagles are there in Midlands Two East (South)barring any last-day horror show.

The only side who can deny Oundle are Olney. However, with a five-point cushion, they need to lose and Olney win while overturning a 232-points difference deficit if they are to miss out.

What it then comes down to is a potentially crucial home advantage in the play-off.

Kettering will play the second-place side in Midlands One West who are Bournville while Oundle are almost certain to face Coalville.

And home advantage goes to the side who finishes with the most points – something Oundle coach Peter Croot is determined his side will do.

“It’s always difficult playing away from home in matches at this stage of the season,” he said.

“We only need a couple of points to make certain but we want to win.

“We’re keen to ensure we get an end-of-season celebration at home.

“I think the club deserve it and I know the players will have the desire to make it happen.

“Every player wants to play any important game at their own club so the incentive is there. We could coast through but it won’t happen.

“Mathematically we are not guaranteed the place and we know exactly what we need to do.”

What they need to do is get the better of Oakham – a side they lost to earlier in the season.

“It won’t be easy going there,” Croot added.

“It’s always difficult going to Oakham and we will have to be at our best.

“We shouldn’t have lost at ours and our game management has got a lot better since then.

“Also, we’ve not lost twice to any side so it would be nice to keep that going.

“But if we keep doing the things we have been doing I think we’ll be okay.

“We only got promoted to this division last year so we’re doing pretty well.

“But the players really want this. The last few weeks have really shown the desire as our run-in has not been easy.

“Now it is full steam ahead.”

Kettering’s task is perhaps slightly harder as they play host to Midlands One East champions Newbold-on-Avon on Saturday.