Ambitious boss Lavery targeting winning home run to fire Poppies up the table

Kettering Town boss Richard Lavery is demanding a big finish to the season.
Kettering Town boss Richard Lavery is aiming high (Picture: Peter Short)Kettering Town boss Richard Lavery is aiming high (Picture: Peter Short)
Kettering Town boss Richard Lavery is aiming high (Picture: Peter Short)

The Poppies moved seven points clear of the Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central relegation zone on Tuesday night thanks to a crucial 2-0 win over rivals AFC Sudbury.

It was Lavery's first win as Kettering boss, following his surprise switch from AFC Quorn, and only the second home league win of the campaign for the Poppies.

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There is no doubt the table now makes for much more comfortable reading for Lavery and supporters alike, but the Kettering boss doesn't want to settle for just avoiding the drop, he wants to climb up the table.

Tuesday's win saw the Poppies move to within three points of 17th-placed Hitchin Town, and with the middle of the table being so tightly packed, the gap to 11th-placed Coalville is just eight points.

Kettering have 10 games left to play this season, with seven of them at home, and Lavery wants the team to really kick on.

"I said to the lads before the game, I don't want to finish fourth or fifth bottom of he league," said the Poppies boss.

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"I want to go and finish mid-table, and I think if you put a few wins together then we can get in the mix for mid-table.

"Why finish just one place above the relegation? I don't believe in that.

"Everybody knows here that I am a winner, and I want to finish as high as possible, and hopefully we will do that."

The clash with Sudbury was the first of four straight home games for the Poppies, with the next one up being against Leiston on Saturday, before Stratford come to town on March 9 and Stamford the following Tuesday (March 12).

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Leiston are sitting ninth in the table and are still in the frame for the promotion play-offs, but Lavery is calling on his players to make the match as uncomfortable as possible for them on Saturday.

"It is our pitch here isn't it? So let Leiston come here and try and take something home," said the Poppies boss.

"I don't like losing any home games, so if they want to come here on Saturday and take something they have got to earn it.

"I don't mind getting beat like we did on Saturday (4-1 at Miclkeover), they were the better team, but if you want to come here and play on our pitch you have got to be better than us."

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And Lavery also believes the far-from-perfect Latimer Park playing surface is something that his team can take advantage of.

"I think it suits us at home, and we have got to take points at home," he said.

"We have seven home games left now, and I think the pitch suits the way we play, we can get the ball forward quickly and we have energetic players in the team."

Interview by Peter Short

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