Clifton sure Poppies are good enough to earn promotion

Poppies defender James Clifton is confident about his team's chances of gaining promotion this season
Poppies defender James Clifton is confident about his team's chances of gaining promotion this season
Share this article

It would seem the wet weather is doing little to dampen the spirit and confidence amongst the Kettering Town players.

Yet another match – this time a home clash with St Ives Town – was called off in midweek, leaving the Poppies to only watch from afar as other results saw the gap between themselves and the play-off places in the Calor League Division One Central open up to five points.

Kettering have played just two league matches this year and, with the rainfall showing no signs of letting up, there are already doubts over whether this weekend’s game with AFC Hayes will go ahead with the Latimer Park pitch sodden.

The Poppies know they will have to pack their remaining 19 matches into a busy final two-and-a-half months of the season, indeed, that timescale may be reduced further.

But one of the newest recruits, former Brackley Town defender James Clifton, believes there is plenty to be confident about during the next few weeks.

Kettering remain on a 13-match unbeaten run with a tough test at Northamptonshire rivals and fellow play-off contenders Daventry Town looming next Tuesday night.

But Clifton insists he and his team-mates are in a confident mood, although he admits the games need to come quickly.

“It’s obviously getting very frustrating because we aren’t playing,” the right-back said.

“It has killed our run a bit but I think we are good enough to be getting promoted. I don’t see any team that should be beating us.

“We know we will have to beat the teams around us when those games come around and it promises to be a big match on Tuesday.

“But every time we have a game, there is no doubt in our heads that we can beat whoever we are playing.

“For the time being, we have to keep our heads down and get on with things.

“Training will never replace being in a match but we haven’t had many days off.

“When we haven’t been playing we have been training and we should be nice and sharp for whenever the next game is.”

Clifton joined Kettering from Skrill North side Oxford City on Christmas Eve and such has been the state of the weather, the Poppies have only played four games since then.

It has meant the defender has struggled to get into any rhythm, although he is determined to start “enjoying his football” again.

“I had been away for a couple of weeks before I left Oxford but I had just stopped enjoying my football,” he added.

“I had a call from Kettering and they explained their plans to me and I knew all about the club after being there during pre-season when Lee Harper was the manager.

“It is a good bunch of lads and it is great to play in front of big crowds.

“It is a step down from the level I was at but I have enjoyed it so far.”