The Poppies’ hopes of still having a say in the play-off shake-up seem to be hanging on a week-by-week basis at present but they are about to enter a stretch of four matches in 10 days, which will go a long to way to deciding how their season pans out.
Kettering, who are nine points off the top five, head to 12th-placed Dunstable Town on Saturday before making the trip to current leaders Leamington next Tuesday night.
With home clashes against play-off contenders Merthyr Town and Frome Town following on, a crucial spell awaits.
But, like last season, the Poppies seem to have found a bit of good form ahead of the run-in.
They go into the weekend’s game on the back of two wins in a row with Howe having grabbed the winners in the 3-2 victory at Cambridge City and the 2-1 home success over Basingstoke Town last Saturday.
With Aaron O’Connor also enjoying a good spell in front of goal, Howe now knows the pair of them will need to keep it up if the Poppies are to mount a late challenge.
“I am on a good run at the minute but whether I score or not, as long as the team are winning it doesn’t really matter,” Howe, who has scored four goals in the last six matches, said.
“But I am happy with the form I am in. We lost Spencer (Weir-Daley) so a lot of the goals went but me and Aaron have been scoring a few and that’s standing us in good stead to push on.
“We lost at Slough but I think we have been playing pretty well since the start of November.
“We are winning games both home and away and we are going to have to keep doing that.
“Some results went for us last weekend but we have still got another 18 games.
“That’s 54 points up for grabs and we have got to play the teams around us as well so if we can win those then it will only benefit us.”
Howe, meanwhile, was pleased to come through a “hard-fought” encounter with Basingstoke.
The frontman hit what proved to be the winner in the first half after Paul Malone had opened the scoring.
And he believes the Poppies showed they can cope with the heavy pitches at this time of year.
“We played some good football,” Howe added.
“When the surfaces are heavy your first touch has to be good or you are having two or three just to get it out of your feet.
“It was a hard-fought game and they battled hard but the two goals in the first half won it for us.”