Graham: I won't be Poppies' next permanent boss

Nicky Eaden and Luke Graham watch on from the sidelines during what proved to be the formers final game in charge of Kettering Town as they slumped to a 2-1 FA Cup replay defeat at Sutton Coldfield Town. Picture by Peter Short
Nicky Eaden and Luke Graham watch on from the sidelines during what proved to be the formers final game in charge of Kettering Town as they slumped to a 2-1 FA Cup replay defeat at Sutton Coldfield Town. Picture by Peter Short

Luke Graham is ready to do his bit to help Kettering Town in the short-term but insists he “won’t be the next manager of this club”.

The hunt is now on for the Poppies’ next permanent boss after Nicky Eaden was sacked following the humiliating 2-1 defeat at lower-ranked Sutton Coldfield Town in Tuesday’s Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round replay.

That added to what had already been a poor start to life in the Vanarama National League North with Kettering winning just two of their first 11 matches.

Player-coach Graham and former Poppies captain and ex-Corby Town boss Steve Kinniburgh have been appointed caretaker joint managers while the club conduct a search for the next permanent boss and they will take charge of the team for Saturday’s league clash at Hereford.

And while Graham, who works full-time as the club’s academy director, believes he and Kinniburgh will “complement each other well”, he is adamant that he does not want the top job in the long run.

“I think Steve and I will complement each other well while the club does what it needs to do,” Graham said.

“We already work together on a daily basis.

“I know the squad and he has his recent experience of first-team management at Corby.

“All anyone will ever get from me is honesty, I will tell people what they don’t want to hear.

“And I can tell you now, I won’t be the next manager of this club. I don’t want to be.

“As a player or as a coach, this will be my last club. I have my main role and that is my future.

“Steve will have my full support and what he wants to do in his career is up to him.

“But, for the time being, we both have to do what is right for the club and that’s what we will do.”

Graham, meanwhile, insists the Poppies players will have no choice but show their character this weekend and in the future.

“It’s easy to point the finger at the manager but there are always 11 players out there as well the substitutes and the reality is that, as a group, we haven’t been good enough,” he added.

“It’s clear that personnel changes will have to happen but we are in a situation at the moment where you really find out about people’s characters.

“People will look at us and say that we are already in a relegation battle and that may well be the case. I have been in four of them in my career so I know what characters you need.

“The one thing I would say about the players is that on Saturday there will be people watching. The next manager might be watching.

“And if these players want to be at this club for any length of time to come then they need to get out and perform for it."