Poppies squad is shaping up as friendly action takes over

Michael Richens is staying on at Kettering Town for another season
Michael Richens is staying on at Kettering Town for another season

Kettering Town’s squad is beginning to take shape ahead of the new Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central season.

The Poppies pulled off something of a coup towards the end of last week as they confirmed the return of former midfielder Marcus Kelly, who made over 40 appearances for Wrexham in the Vanarama National League last season.

And that was followed by the news that Aaron O’Connor, who hit 40 goals in all competitions in the last campaign, midfielders Lindon Meikle, Ben Milnes and Michael Richens and defender Orrin Pendley have all agreed new terms for the forthcoming season.

Boss Marcus Law, who saw his team kick-off their pre-season friendly schedule with a comfortable 3-0 win at Wisbech Town last weekend, also expects midfielder Michael Richens to stay on following a successful season with the club last time out.

And the Poppies manager revealed he will now be running the rule over a number of trialists during the forthcoming friendlies, the first of which is at Gresley FC this evening (Thursday) while a trip to Stamford follows on Saturday.

“To be honest, our aim was always to try to retain the majority of last season’s squad and then add to it in certain areas,” Law said.

“We prefer to wait until all deals have been signed and sealed by the FA and while we have seen more players confirmed over the last week, I was always confident and comfortable about where we are going.

“There are still a couple to tie up but they should get done and pre-season will always throw something up and we will be having a look at a few trialists during the busy run over matches over the next two weeks. It will be a good chance to have a look at them.

“We will be dealing with people being unavailable for various reasons over the next period.

“But all the early training has been done and, as we get towards the end of this month, that’s when things will really shape up and we will be able to have a look at the tactical side of it all.”

The Poppies had few problems in seeing of the Fenmen last Saturday as O’Connor scored twice while Meikle added the third goal.

And Law added: “It was a good game to get started in.

“The weather ensured it wasn’t played an extremely high tempo but it gave us a chance to put into practice a few partnerships that we want to look at for the new season.”

Kettering have also made a new addition to their backroom staff with Dave McCarthy being named goalkeeping coach.