Poppies and Daventry set for bank holiday battle

Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie
Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie

Kettering Town and Daventry Town renew their Southern League Division One Central rivalry at Latimer Park this afternoon (3pm).

It is another big bank holiday clash with the Poppies sitting in third in the early standings while their Northamptonshire rivals sit just below them in fourth.

The two clubs were involved in three huge matches last season, all of which were won by Kettering including a nail-biting play-off semi-final at Latimer Park.

The Poppies will be looking to build on their 3-1 home success over North Greenford United on Saturday.

And joint-manager Thomas Baillie is ready for what he thinks will be “an interesting game” against a Daventry team that he firmly expects to be challenging for honours once again.

“To me, it’s what football is all about,” Baillie said.

“It’s Bank Holiday Monday, two local teams are playing each other and the fans come out for the day.

“Regardless of what league you are in, local derbies are the best.

“We know Daventry will be up there again. They have had some players leave but they have replaced them with more good footballers.

“It will be an interesting game and we will have to play better than we did in the first half on Saturday.

“It is a tough enough game already against Daventry and we have to make sure we get things right from the start.”

Baillie and fellow joint-manager Scott Machin handed Henry Eze and Jonathon Thorpe their first starts of the season while it was confirmed central defender Dan Crowie was rested.

And Baillie was pleased to see two key players come back into the starting line-up while admitting he and Machin will continue to do whatever they feel is right to keep the squad fresh.

“Henry and Tommy Hull were one of the best central defensive partnerships in the league last season, that was proven,” he added.

“Henry is a big presence and I am much happier with him playing for us than against us.

“Jonathon is a superb player and he had an accident during the summer so we have had to ease him back into things.

“For both of them to play at the weekend was great and they make us stronger.

“We realise we have a big squad and we have to manage it. There are a lot of games to come and we just want to keep everyone fit.

“If that means taking one or two out of it from time-to-time then that’s what we will do.”