THE BIG KICK-OFF: Law plays down Poppies' title favourites billing

Striker Aaron O'Connor suffered a knee injury in Kettering Town's final pre-season friendly of the summer
Striker Aaron O'Connor suffered a knee injury in Kettering Town's final pre-season friendly of the summer

Marcus Law has played down Kettering Town’s billing as title favourites as they prepare to get the new Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central season under way tomorrow (Saturday).

The Poppies start the campaign as favourites to lift the crown with some bookies after they missed out in the play-off semi-finals last time out after an outstanding campaign in which they accumulated a huge 97 points while scoring 122 goals.

Kettering begin the new season with a trip to Hitchin Town before they take on another highly-fancied side King’s Lynn Town at Latimer Park on Tuesday night.

And boss Law said: “You always look forward to the start of the season.

“I am sure there will be stresses and strains along the way but we are hopeful there will be more good moments than not.

“I think the bookies have gone by statistics and seen that we got 97 points last season and scored 122 goals.

“But all that means nothing to me and it will have no effect on what we are trying to do.”

Law insists his team will take things “one game at a time” as they gear up for an intriguing opening week.

The clash with King’s Lynn is one of the outstanding fixtures in the early stages of the new league but Law’s focus for the time being is solely on Hitchin.

He added: “The first games of the season are always a bit strange.

“There is always a cup final feel to them because everyone wants to get off to a good start.

“We are away from home again, it’s the fourth away game on the first day of the season since I came back here so that makes it a bit trickier as well.

“But we will go there and try to get a positive result.

“We know there is the King’s Lynn game to come on Tuesday and I am sure some are already looking at that after what both clubs did last season.

“But, for us, it’s one game at a time.”

The Poppies’ main injury concern going into the opening game is striker Aaron O’Connor, who hit 40 goals in all competitions last season.

The experienced frontman was forced off during the first half of the final pre-season friendly of the summer as they beat Bedford Town 2-0 at Latimer Park last Saturday thanks to goals from Michael Richens and Craig Westcarr.

O’Connor sustained a knee injury after landing awkwardly following an aerial challenge and he was still limping heavily after the final whistle.

The full extent of his injury has not yet been confirmed.

But Law insists it will be up to others to “step up” should the frontman not be ready for the start of the campaign.

“We’re really going to have to wait and see,” Law said.

“He wasn’t able to move freely after the injury happened on Saturday so we have to understand that we may be without him.

“But we have others who can step up and it will be up to them to do that.”