Poppies bidding to get rid of their Stratford 'demons'

Marcus Law knows Kettering Town have to 'get rid of some demons' when they take on Stratford Town at Latimer Park tomorrow (Saturday).

Thursday, 7th December 2017, 1:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:27 am
Rene Howe takes on two St Ives Town defenders during Kettering Town's 4-1 home success on Tuesday night. Picture by Peter Short

A run of three successive home games started on a positive note on Tuesday night as goals from Aaron O’Connor, Rene Howe, Ben Milnes and Rhys Hoenes secured a comprehensive 4-1 victory over St Ives Town.

That win lifted the Poppies back into second place in the Evo-Stik South League Premier while also maintaining their unbeaten home record.

But that good run at Latimer Park will be in for a thorough examination this weekend.

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Stratford will arrive on the back of a five-match unbeaten run, which has seen them pick up four wins while also knowing they comfortably got the better of Kettering in both games between the two last season.

Indeed, Stratford, who are managed by ex-Poppy Carl Adams and have former Kettering players Ben Stephens and Will Grocott in their ranks, have won three of the four league meetings between the two clubs over the past two campaigns.

But Law firmly believes his current crop are a “different kettle of fish” this season.

“I said it to the lads after Tuesday, we have got to get rid of some demons,” the Poppies boss said.

“Stratford are an organised side and there is certainly a bit of quality in there with Ben Stephens scoring a fair few goals at the moment and Will Grocott is technically very gifted and will create things.

“The manager is also an ex-Kettering player and last season we were found wanting and we deservedly lost both games to them.

“But we are a different kettle of fish from last season with different strengths and a different mentality.

“And I think you can see that in the workmanlike performances we have put in.”

The Poppies will be hoping top scorer O’Connor will be fit for the weekend as he was withdrawn as a precaution on Tuesday after suffering a hamstring problem.

Recent signing Tom Marshall will also come back into the reckoning and Law expects to rotate him with Brett Solkhon over the next few weeks after the club legend played with an injury in the midweek success.

“Aaron, like he does, was chasing after a ball in the first half and just felt his hamstring,” Law added.

“You get that in this kind of weather with players who have bursts of pace.

“Once we got the second goal and we were in the ascendency it was a case of making sure our prolific goalscorer would be ready for tomorrow.

“Brett came in and played through a slight knock so Tom’s arrival has come at a good time because it means we should be able to rotate those two through the next month, which I think will suit both parties.”