John Ramshaw believes Kettering Town’s home form holds the key to their promotion hopes this season.
The Poppies came through a pulsating clash with AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Latimer Park on Tuesday night as they won 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out after a 3-3 draw to book an NFA Hillier Senior Cup final date with Brackley Town on Tuesday, April 10 at Sixfields.
But while a stormy evening was taking centre-stage in Burton Latimer, Kettering’s title hopes in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier were fading further as both King’s Lynn Town and Hereford claimed victories.
The Poppies are now eight points behind leaders King’s Lynn with two games in hand but are four off Hereford who have played two matches less.
The focus now is on securing a play-off spot and Kettering are well-placed to do so, sitting 11 points clear of Chesham United and Tiverton Town, who are the two teams immediately outside the top five.
Tiverton come to Latimer Park tomorrow (Saturday) having claimed an impressive 3-0 win over Slough Town last weekend while the Poppies went down 4-3 at Royston Town.
And head coach Ramshaw insists Kettering must focus on maintaining their fine home record, which has seen them win 12, draw two and lose just once in 14 league outings at Latimer Park this season.
“Tiverton had a little slump but I think they have rejuvenated themselves by bringing in a couple of loan signings from Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle so it will be a difficult game,” he said.
“They had a good win last Saturday against Slough and it will be a hard one for us.
“But we just have to do what we have been doing all season and that’s winning at home.
“We have certainly made Latimer Park a fortress this season as opposed to our form last year and we just have to keep that going because our home form could be what propels us into the play-offs.”
This weekend’s game is quickly followed by the reverse fixture with Royston at Latimer Park on Tuesday night.
And Ramshaw expects the Poppies to have a full-strength squad to choose from, despite a hard-fought contest with Diamonds in midweek.
“There were no injuries to report, everybody will be fit,” he added.
“There may be a few tired legs but there will have been a bit of a recovery session in training and we will take things from there.”