Dean Thomas has praised the Kettering Town supporters for “sticking with the club” as the Poppies gear up for tomorrow (Tuesday) night’s play-off showdown with Northamptonshire neighbours Daventry Town.
Kettering earned a home tie in the one-off Calor League Division One Central play-off semi-final by securing a ninth successive win when they beat North Greenford United 3-2 at the weekend.
The result saw them leapfrog Daventry into third place to secure a home clash at Latimer Park, where they beat their county rivals 2-0 on Easter Monday.
And Kettering boss Thomas is hoping the backing his team will receive from what should be another bumper crowd will help drive them on and set up a clash for promotion with either Rugby Town or Slough Town next Monday.
He said: “It was tough for everyone at the club to start with this season but the fans have stuck by us and I think they have taken to the players and the management team.
“There have been periods where we have had four games in a week but these supporters have travelled in their numbers and put their hands in their pockets to follow their club.
“Regardless of what happens tomorrow night, they have shown the passion they have for the club and they have shown that they will follow it through thick and thin.
“They have stuck by us and this is a night for them and an opportunity for all of us to get back into the Premier Division.
“Hopefully they will be out in their numbers and with their vocal backing and positivity, it will drive us on to another good result.”
Thomas confirmed top scorer Dubi Ogbonna will be back in the squad for tomorrow’s clash after he missed his pick-up for Saturday’s win at North Greenford.
Thomas said after the game that the situation would be “dealt with internally” and it now seems Ogbonna will be available for the play-offs.
The Poppies boss added: “Dubi has come back into things and I will speak to him ahead of the game.
“But he will be involved in the squad and Tommy Hull is also fit after having no reaction to playing during the second half on Saturday.
“We will be picking a team to go and win the game and we will be picking it from a strong squad.”
Fans are being reminded that season tickets will not be valid for tomorrow’s clash with it being an all-pay fixture.
There will be no reserved seating, although the stand nearest the main game is reserved for both sides’ directors, home team sponsors, press and radio.
Fans are being encouraged to arrive at Latimer Park early to avoid parking problems and turnstile queues. Two turnstiles will be open from 6.45pm and a third from 7.15pm.
Should the game finish level at the end of 90 minutes there will be half-an-hour of extra-time and a penalty shoot-out if the two teams are still all-square.