Marcus Law knows Kettering Town are in for a tough examination when they head to Royston Town on Saturday.
The Poppies remain top of the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central, although their advantage is now down to goal difference from second-placed Stourbridge after they won 4-0 at Redditch United on Tuesday night.
Stourbridge are the visitors to Latimer Park next Tuesday but the first part of a huge double-header for Law’s team sees them make the short trip to take on third-placed Royston who are unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, conceding just two goals in that spell.
There were 12 goals across the two games between the clubs last season with Kettering suffering a 4-3 defeat at Garden Walk before securing a 4-1 success at Latimer Park.
And Law knows the Crows will “fancy it” again against his team.
“They have clearly got their house in order again this season,” the Poppies manager added.
“They were a good side at this level last year and they are showing that they are capable again.
“I know they will fancy it, they have made some decent signings and it’s a tough game at the best of times.”
Law will be hoping the virus that decimated his squad for last weekend’s Buildbase FA Trophy defeat at Stamford clears up ahead of this weekend.
But one positive that came out of the loss to the Daniels was the return of Gary Stohrer.
The utility man came on at half-time and came through his first 45 minutes of match action since suffering a broken foot in the Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round clash with AFC Mansfield back on September 22.
Stohrer, who is capable of playing in numerous positions, was one of the star performers in the first month of the season.
And, in a further boost for Law, it looks as though left-sided player James Brighton is also nearing a return to action after more than a year on the sidelines with a knee injury.
“Gary got 45 minutes and he looked like he hadn’t missed a few weeks,” Law added.
“We are over the moon to have him back and the timing really couldn’t have been better when you look at the situation we find ourselves in at the moment.
“Having Gary back was one of the big positives to come out of a tough weekend.
“We are also expecting James to be in for training very soon and that means he isn’t far away either.
“We know what he is capable of and the fact he is close to the return is further good news for us.”