St Neots set to give Poppies ‘sternest test’ so far

Louis Hamilton is set to be in Kettering Town colours next season but he is likely to miss tomorrow's friendly at St Neots Town with a hamstring injury
Louis Hamilton is set to be in Kettering Town colours next season but he is likely to miss tomorrow's friendly at St Neots Town with a hamstring injury

Thomas Baillie expects Kettering Town to get their “sternest test” of pre-season so far when they head to Southern League Premier Division outfit St Neots Town tomorrow (Saturday).

The Poppies have enjoyed two wins out of two against ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League opposition so far as a 6-2 success at Oadby Town was followed by a 1-0 victory at Rothwell Corinthians on Monday night.

But, as the preparations for the new Southern League Division One Central campaign - which starts against Aylesbury United at Latimer Park on August 9 - continue, joint-boss Baillie is expecting a big examination tomorrow.

“The two games we have had so far have been good because they have been different,” Baillie said.

“Oadby had a go at us and it was a fairly open game but Rothwell Corinthians were a lot quicker in closing us down on Monday.

“I thought Corinthians were a real credit to their club to be honest. They worked hard and made things very difficult for us, even though we saw plenty of the ball.

“It’s good for us because we know that when the league starts, there will be teams who will open up against us and we know there will be sides who will pack the midfield and try to contain us.

“We have had two very good workouts so far but we know that tomorrow will be our sternest test so far.

“We have a bit of a problem in that there are some lads who are away and there could be as many as six or seven who played last weekend who won’t be available tomorrow.

“But it’s all about getting minutes into players at the moment and it is another chance to do that.

“St Neots are expected to do pretty well next season, it’s a fantastic set up over there.

“I think it will be an interesting game and it will certainly give us a good indication of where some of the players are at the moment.”

The club’s most recent signing, goalkeeper Nick Bennion is likely to make his debut after he joined the Poppies on Thursday night while Henry Eze could also feature after he returned to training with Kettering, despite playing in a friendly for Tamworth on Tuesday.

Baillie confirmed Louis Hamilton is set to re-sign for the club, having already featured in pre-season, although a hamstring injury is likely to keep him out of tomorrow’s friendly while trialist Avelino Vieira should be involved again.

Kettering’s next friendly action after the weekend is due to be against Burton Park Wanderers at Latimer Park next Friday night after the match against an Oxford United XI, which was due to be played on Tuesday, was called off.

The Poppies, meanwhile, will hold their season ticket collection event at Latimer Park next Saturday (July 26) from midday.

Fans will be able to pick up their season tickets and choose their seats as well as meeting the first-team squad. There will also be a question and answer session with chairman Ritchie Jeune and the club’s board members.