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Kettering preview - here we go again

So here we go again, after a two and a half months of rest and time to reflect on the achievement s of our first three seasons another footballing year begins. Craig Phillips provides this preview"¦

It may have been a break for us supporters and even some of the players, but manager Karl Marginson won’t have had much rest as he’s regrouped his squad and began planning another assault on the football pyramid.

Over the past two months we’ve lost some players, gained a few more and re-signed the bulk of last season’s double-winners and now the fun (and hard work) starts once more as United travel to Kettering Town to take on the Blue Square Premier side.

Margy will obviously use the fixture as a gauge of the sides fitness and ability as they are not only taking on a team two divisions above but a team that stormed their way to winning the Blue Square North division last time out.

Whilst United have never met Saturday’s opponents before, supporters will remember when we previously met the champions of the Conference North; the Reds saw off Droylsden on that occasion in the Manchester Premier Cup, one of the highlights of last season.

The match will provide United with good opposition but the main aim is to get the team fit and get the new players gelling into the squad before the season opener at home to Matlock Town on August 16.

Kettering Town; or the Poppies as they are more affectionately known, were originally formed back in 1872, and then turned professional in 1891.

During their history the club have won a number of honours at the non-league level and even managed to add the Blue Square North title to that last season, easily winning the league with a 17 point margin over second placed AFC Telford United.

Last seasons promotion means that while the Poppies’ fans won’t know what to expect this season; they go into the new campaign full of optimism and can look forward to a local derby against Rushden & Diamonds as early as the fourth game of the season.

The club have made moves in the summer to bring in some new faces including striker Nathan Smith and former Walsall midfielder Darren Wrack as well as ensuring new contracts for club captain John Dempster and manager Mark Cooper.

The Poppies have a few famous managers on their list including ’big’ Ron Atkinson, current Bristol City boss Gary Johnson and for the briefest of spells Paul Gascoigne was in the hot seat at Rockingham Road.

The team regularly drew crowds of around and over 2,000 last season and another bumper crowd is expected on Saturday to see what will hopefully be an entertaining fixture.

Saturday’s game is the usual 3pm kick off and it must be said it will be good to get back down to that football ground on a Saturday afternoon.

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First Posted ~ 18:37 Fri 18 Jul 2008
News ID ~ 1721
Last Updated ~ 12:55 Mon 21 May 2018