Aaron is only looking forward after return to the Poppies fold

Aaron O’Connor made a welcome return to the fold at Kettering Town last weekend.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 1:55 pm
Aaron OConnor was back in the Kettering Town starting line-up in Saturdays win over Alfreton Town. Picture by Peter Short

It seemed that the experienced striker’s stay at Latimer Park was coming to an end after boss Nicky Eaden had revealed O’Connor was free to find another club as he tried to free up some of his budget to bring in new signings.

However, at the end of last week, it was confirmed that after further discussions O’Connor would be staying on with the Poppies.

He was duly brought straight back into the starting line-up before producing an impressive display in the much-needed 2-1 home success over Alfreton Town.

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And he then scored twice with Joel Carta (2) and Elliot Hodge also being on target as a strong Poppies team beat Cogenhoe United 5-1 in the first round of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup at Latimer Park on Tuesday night.

Ever the professional, O’Connor has kept his counsel over the past couple of weeks and, to an extent, did so again during a post-match interview following that welcome victory in the Vanarama National League North.

So, what has it been like for him over the past couple of weeks after he appeared to be on his way out.

He joked: “It’s been boring!

“Listen, stuff happens in football. I don’t want to go into it too much but things can change from one day to another and from one week to the next.

“I never once asked to leave. But stuff happens. It’s never all about what people want.

“But, between everyone, we have managed to sort it out - I think for the better. I think I will be much happier here than I could have been somewhere else.

“I just want to think about what is happening now and I want to help the team. And if we carry on playing like we did on Saturday then I think we will win more games than we lose.”

O’Connor, who hit 40 goals in the 2017-18 campaign for the Poppies and 12 in their title-winning season last time out, and summer signing Dan Nti were paired together in attack against Alfreton.

And the signs were there that it could be the start of a good partnership as both produced hard-working displays to ensure the visiting defence weren’t given a moment’s peace. It’s a combination O’Connor is hoping can now blossom.

“Hopefully I can get a partnership going with Dan,” he said.

“I have felt a bit sorry for him in some games because he has worked his socks off.

“I always felt that if we got the chance to play together then we could hurt teams and be a threat and I thought we caused the Alfreton defence a few problems.”

Having picked up a much-needed league victory to relieve the pressure on boss Eaden, the Poppies face a different sort of test this weekend as they entertain Step 4 side Sutton Coldfield Town in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

And O’Connor insists he and his team-mates won’t be taking lower-ranked opposition lightly.

“We have to approach the game like any other with the same work ethic and desire,” the striker added.

“If we apply ourselves properly and do what the gaffer asks us to do then we will be fine.

“But we certainly won’t be taking anything for granted.”