It’s all about safety first – but Poppies boss Lavery is making plans!

Richard Lavery knows there is still a lot of work to do to secure safety this season – but the Kettering Town boss is already looking to the future.
Kettering Town boss Richard Lavery enjoyed last weekend's win over Stratford Town (PIcture: Peter Short)Kettering Town boss Richard Lavery enjoyed last weekend's win over Stratford Town (PIcture: Peter Short)
Kettering Town boss Richard Lavery enjoyed last weekend's win over Stratford Town (PIcture: Peter Short)

And he is setting his sights on challenging at the top end of the Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central next season.

The Poppies made it back-to-back home wins on Saturday when Dan Jarvis’s first-half goal secured a 1-0 success against play-off chasing Stratford Town at Latimer Park.

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It was the first time Kettering had won two home games on the spin in more than a year.

Lavery has clearly had an impact since making the switch from AFC Quorn, but he accepts that, despite improved results, the Poppies are still in a precarious position.

That is because AFC Sudbury, who Kettering travel to play on Saturday in a huge relegation six-pointer, have also won successive matches.

It means the Poppies are still only four points above the drop zone – although they are also now level on points with Hitchin Town a place above them.

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The likes of Alvechurch, Bromsgrove Sporting and Stourbridge are also in Lavery’s sights, and he is focusing on Saturday’s massive Sudbury test.

But he also has big plans, as he stated: “I need to get us safe this year.

"My job was to come in and keep Kettering up, and hopefully I will do that.

"But then next season I want to be in the top three or top four all day long.

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"This club deserves to be higher, and hopefully I will bring that here."

Kettering were left frustrated in midweek when the scheduled clash with Stamford at Latimer Park was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

It denied the Poppies the chance to play their game in hand and move seven points clear of Sudbury ahead of this weekend’s clash, and their relegation rivals will be desperate to win and close the gap to just a point at the weekend.

The Poppies were 1-0 home winners against Sudbury last month, and Lavery is confident his players will be up for the fight again this weekend.

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"People know what I am all about, they have seen me from the sidelines,” he said.

"I am trying to instill that winning mentality and desire into the players, and I think the fans can see that is working.

"There is a team in there, they are a good team, but it's not worked for whatever reason. I am the third manager this season which is not ideal, so hopefully the players are buying into what I am all about."

They certainly took on board their manager’s instructions on Saturday as promotion-chasing Stratford were beaten.

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And the only downside for Lavery was that his side didn’t win more convincingly.

"They say 1-0 is the best result in football, but it's not if you are a manager, because you kick and head every ball,” said the Poppies boss.

"You take it at the end of the game and the 90 minutes are up, but we should have been 2-0 or 3-0 ahead.

"The amount of chances we have had, we have hit the post, hit the bar but then they could have nicked one towards the end.

"But I think we deserved the three points."

Interview by Peter Short

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