Kettering Town have signed young Peterborough United striker Mathew Stevens on an initial one-month loan deal.
The frontman opened the scoring in the Poppies’ 3-0 win at Spalding United in their penultimate pre-season friendly of the summer.
Boss Marcus Law confirmed the move for the 19-year-old, who scored against Kettering while on loan at Cambridge City last season while he also had a spell at Irish side Sligo Rovers.
And Law admitted the deal was in place before the club discovered that Rene Howe will now be available for the start of the Evo-Stik South League Premier campaign, despite being sent off in the recent 3-0 friendly loss to Barwell.
But Stevens will have a big role to play after the club confirmed last season's top scorer Aaron O'Connor will miss the first three games of the new season due to a three-match ban carried over from the last campaign.
Howe served a one-friendly ban last night and the Poppies boss said: “We didn’t know what the outcome would be with Rene so we had to make plans and Mathew was part of that.
“We didn’t want to leave ourselves vulnerable in that area of the pitch.
“I have seen a lot in football in the past 21 years but I have never heard of a one-match friendly ban but that’s the outcome we have had.
“Rene didn’t play last night but I still believe the situation with him will be dealt with internally as well.
“It is a lucky situation for us because if this happened during the season when it wasn’t local officials involved, then he would be missing two weeks, without any doubt.”
As far as the performance last night was concerned, Law was pleased with what he saw from his players as an own-goal and Aaron O’Connor’s second-half effort wrapped up a comfortable success.
Kettering round off their pre-season campaign at Rushall Olympic on Saturday and Law added: “I thought we looked strong and we defended as a group.
“We seemed to have a little bit more tenacity and our pace in certain areas caused problems for them.
“You are always wary about saying these things but it never really felt like the outcome was in doubt.”