Max Dyche believes Kettering Town is “a great place to start” as he sets out on the journey of what he hopes will be a long career in professional football.
The 18-year-old, who signed his first professional contract with Northampton Town in May, has joined the Poppies for the first two months of the new season to gain first-team experience.
And he made a solid start to life at Latimer Park with a strong defensive display in Kettering’s 1-0 victory over Bradford (Park Avenue) on the opening day of the Vanarama National League North campaign.
Dyche, who is the son of Burnley manager Sean who grew up in Kettering, certainly didn’t shirk from a physical battle at the weekend and had the scars to prove it after he suffered a cut late on in the game but returned to help see the game out after being patched up.
The Poppies are now preparing for a tough test at Gateshead this weekend but Dyche was left to reflect on a positive debut and an encouraging opening-day result.
The young centre-half said: “It’s a tough challenge, it’s what I want to do. I want to try to build my career and this is a great place to start.
“The first game was good, it was a tough scrap. We all know it’s not the best pitch to play on but it was a scrappy game and we didn’t really get any momentum going and they kept breaking up play.
“They stuck it on us a lot in the second half so it was hard to get any sort of rhythm going.
“We all know we can and will be better than the performance we produced but it was three points and a clean sheet so that’s a good start to the season.
“We have got a young team and people might say that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing. We have got a lot of hungry young lads who bring a lot of energy to the table.
“If we can channel that and really gel together as a team then we might be able to do something in this league.
“A 1-0 win and a clean sheet is a good base for us to build on and hopefully it kickstarts a bit of momentum for us.
“Having the week off is good, it gives everyone a chance to reflect and refocus.
“The games will come thick and fast at some stage so this is a chance to work and make sure we get things right.
“Gateshead is a big journey and a decent stadium so it should be a good game.”
The Poppies were able to welcome their fans back to Latimer Park for the first time since December 15 last year after the 2020-21 season was again cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A crowd of 762 were on hand to see Saturday’s win and Dyche added: “It’s just great to be playing in front of fans again.
“Playing behind closed doors has been rubbish, the fans have been sitting at home which is rubbish and I think everyone is buzzing to be back and around it.
“For the fans to get behind us like they did was great and if we can keep putting results together then I am sure they will keep pushing us on.”