Busy week ahead as Poppies make final preparations

Dubi Ogbonna hit a hat-trick in Kettering Town's 5-1 friendly win over Burton Park Wanderers at Latimer Park
Dubi Ogbonna hit a hat-trick in Kettering Town's 5-1 friendly win over Burton Park Wanderers at Latimer Park

Kettering Town face three more friendlies in the next seven days as they make their final preparations for the new Southern League Division One Central campaign.

Despite going a goal down, the Poppies eased to 5-1 victory over landlords Burton Park Wanderers in front of 263 fans at Latimer Park on Friday night.

Sterner tests lie ahead, however, as they head to Southern League Premier Division side Dunstable Town on Tuesday night before hosting Conference North outfit Oxford City on Thursday.

And their friendly campaign is rounded off next Saturday when they head to Bashley.

Joint-boss Scott Machin confirmed the likes of Ross Oulton, Andy Hall and James Clifton will all come back into the fray over the next week after they missed last night’s game.

And Machin expects the chopping and changing to ease off during the next few days.

“ It’s (the start of the season) all come round very quickly, it seemed a long way away when we first came back,” Machin said.

“I think we will still move the team around in the next two games but less so.

“And next Saturday, we will be looking at taking the squad that will more than likely be selected for the first game of the season.”

As far as their latest outing was concerned, the Poppies eventually found their range after going a goal down to a penalty.

Jake Newman equalised before Dubi Ogbonna put them in front before the break. Ogbonna completed his hat-trick in the second half, although he had to be withdrawn after taking a knock on his shin when scoring the Poppies’ fourth. And substitute Nat Liburd rounded things off with the fifth.

Machin added: “For half-an-hour they gave us a really good game, we just didn’t move the ball like I wanted us to.

“The penalty was a soft one but once we got the goal we settled down a bit and passed the ball better.

“Players seem to play differently in pre-season to how they would when the league starts but we were more positive after the first goal and it was completely under control in the second half.”

Machin was also delighted to see last season’s top scorer Ogbonna open his account for pre-season, a reward for the work he has put in of late.

“It was nice for Dubi to get his goals,” Machin added.

“He has not been as sharp as he was during last season but he has done a lot of work over the last 10 days to get himself up to speed and it showed.

“He took a knock with the third goal but I am pleased he has got his goals because he has worked hard.”