IN FOCUS | Kettering Town

IN FOCUS | Kettering Town

Kettering Town will be gearing up for the forthcoming season in the Vanarama National League North after achieving promotion last season.

The Poppies enjoyed an excellent campaign, finishing top of the Southern League Premier Division Central, 14 points clear of their closest rivals, King’s Lynn Town.

With 30 wins from 42 games, Kettering will be used to winning as they head into the new campaign, but will need to up their game as they prepare to compete in a higher division.

In order to be successful, the Poppies will have to try and replace last year’s club top scorer, Rhys Hoenes.

The 27-year-old forward bagged himself 17 goals, building on the eight he got the year before, but departed for Tamworth this summer.

One player who the Port fans will recognise is winger, Lindon Meikle.

The 31-year-old, who has also previously played for York City, was on loan at Southport for a short period in 2017.

Another attacking option who will bring experience to the Poppies is Aaron O’Connor.

The former Newport County striker is well-equipped to play in the National League North, after previously plying his trade in higher divisions.

A challenge the team will face next season is getting used to life playing under a new coach, after Marcus Law ended his four year spell at Latimer Park following the clubs title success.

His replacement, Nicky Eaden, will be hoping to continue the good work.

Kettering will be the 46-year-old’s third club since last June, after short spells with Nuneaton Borough and Hednesford Town.

The former full-back also has coaching experience from his time as an assistant with Peterborough United and Rotherham United, as well as stepping into the role of caretaker coach for the latter.

In his playing career, Eaden played for teams including Barnsley and Wigan Athletic, before spending the back end of his career with Kettering.

During his time playing for the club, he was part of the Poppies side who won the National League in 2008 and got to the fourth round of the FA Cup the following year.

Now as a manager, Eaden will want to achieve similar success.

Southport’s last visit to Kettering was in November 2011, a game that saw Liam Watson’s side equal a club record seven straight away wins with a 3-2 success. That game was played at Nene Park, the former home of Rushden & Diamonds, after the club moved out of their long-term home of Rockingham Road.

Kettering now play their games at Latimer Park, which they have shared with Burton Park Wanderers for six years, meaning there will be a new venue for the Port to visit.

It was at the end of the 2011/12 season that the club suffered a massive blow, as they were demoted by two divisions after entering administration.

After a further relegation, Kettering have been on the rise and fighting for promotions since.

Written by Amos Wynn

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