Change of focus led to O’Connor’s shock Poppies move

Aaron O'Connor in action during his debut for Kettering Town last weekend. Picture by Peter Short
Aaron O'Connor in action during his debut for Kettering Town last weekend. Picture by Peter Short

Aaron O’Connor has a revealed a change in personal circumstances eventually led to his surprise move to Kettering Town.

The experienced striker made an immediate impact in Poppies colours last weekend when, after coming on as a substitute, he fired home a stoppage-time winner in the 3-2 success at Leek Town, which sent them into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

O’Connor’s arrival at Latimer Park came as something as a shock, considering he had been playing in the Football League as recently as last season while on loan at Stevenage from National League club Forest Green Rovers.

But the 33-year-old’s decision to move back to his home in Nottingham and change of focus has now led to him joining the Poppies for what he revealed is, initially, a month-long stay.

“I made the decision this year to move back home,” the frontman said.

“I need to put my son and my family first because in the past football had always come first and now it needs to be the other way round.

“I needed to see what my options were closer to home. A couple of other things didn’t work out and I was thinking about stopping.

“But I got a call from Marcus and the chance came up to come to Kettering. I have signed for a month initially and we will see how I get on.”

O’Connor certainly made quite an impact on his debut.

Having come on with 16 minutes to go, just after Leek had struck to make it 2-2, he sent a late penalty wide of the target.

But the striker made amends moments later when he blasted home to send the Poppies into the next round.

Now he is set to make his Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division bow when they take on Banbury United at Latimer Park on Saturday.

And he is hoping he can play his part in helping the Poppies to pick up their first home win of the season, after failing to score in their first three outings on their own soil.

“I think I probably put the fans through more emotions in that few minutes than they had been through in the whole game before then,” O’Connor said as he reflected on his dramatic debut.

“It was great to get out there and play for a little while, it was a good run-out.

“And it was obviously nice to get the goal to win it after missing the penalty.

“I know Kaid (Mohamed) and Rene (Howe) so there are a few familiar faces.

“We have already been talking about how we can all try to chip in with goals for the club.

“I know they have struggled for goals at home early this season so hopefully we can put that statistic to bed this weekend.”