Jon Dunham – Second half of the season promises much, just go away rain!

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

The local football scene seems to be promising much in the second half of the season. All we need now are some games!

Unfortunately, it is that time of year when the weather comes into play. There isn’t a great deal anyone can do about it but just sit around and wait to see if the next match can be played.

That is the way it is for Corby Town, Kettering Town and our United Counties League clubs at the moment.

It’s tough for a number of reasons. There are bills to pay and clubs rely on their match days to bring in the money.

And let’s also spare a thought for all of our local clubs’ groundstaff who work, mainly for nothing, so hard to ensure these matches do go ahead.

Then there is the playing side and the potential stopping of momentum, something that managers just have to deal with.

It is frustrating (now there is a word I have heard a lot in the last weeks).

But, at some point (hopefully tomorrow), our clubs will be back in action and the Steelmen and Poppies are certainly eyeing up a big push as they enter the home straight of the campaign.

For Corby, their season seems to be at something of a crossroads.

Despite being in the bottom half of the table, it is the ‘games played’ column that is prompting hopes of a big push for a play-off place in the Calor League Premier Division.

And the Steelmen joint-bosses Andrew Wilson and Tommy Wright have a firm belief that a top-five finish is still possible.

That would certainly explain their busy week in the transfer market this week as Aman Verma and Greg Mills made their loan stays permanent while Courtney Herbert and Nathan Stanton have also arrived at Steel Park.

It will be a tough ask and the managers don’t need me to tell them that a run of victories is needed if they are to achieve their goal. They have the games to do it and the matches coming up can be put in the ‘winnable’ category.

Over at Latimer Park, which has represented more of a swimming pool than a football pitch this week, the Poppies are still sitting on their 13-match unbeaten run.

It must be so much more frustrating when the bad weather arrives just as you are putting together such a run of form.

But a play-off place in the Division One Central must now be the bare minimum that Dean Thomas and the Kettering fans will expect from their side.

They have done brilliantly to move into contention and the squad they now have in place should be good enough to finish in the top five.

All of a sudden, expectation levels are up at Kettering and that, perhaps, is one of the toughest issues the Poppies squad has.

They also still have the Red Insure Cup to focus on, a competition the manager and chairman Ritchie Jeune have both publicly stated they would like to go all the way in.

And let’s not forget our UCL sides.

While both divisions look to be well set as far as title contenders are concerned, AFC Rushden & Diamonds will no doubt push Spalding United hard in the top flight while Stewarts & Lloyds face a battle to stay in the division.

But maybe for the Diamonds, the lure of Wembley Stadium might just take over in the coming weeks.

They have a great chance of progressing further in the FA Vase as they take on St Andrews at the Dog & Duck in the last 32 next weekend.

Given the form they have shown for the majority of the season, it isn’t unrealistic to expect further good things from Mark Starmer and his players in the remainder of the campaign.

Let’s just hope the wintry weather doesn’t hang around too long. We are all starved of football and hopefully it won’t be long before we are all back in the swing of things.

And when that happens, I expect plenty of drama and achievement from certain clubs in our area.