Following last Saturday’s win against a strong and re-juvenated Kidderminster Harriers’ side, Saints continue the busy festive programme with Wednesday’s New Year’s Day visit to St James Park of Kettering Town. As the Boxing Day trip to The Poppies was postponed due to a water-logged pitch, remarkably this will be the first ever league encounter between the two Northamptonshire near-neighbours. The fixture at Latimer Park is yet to be re-scheduled.
Following Saturday’s defeat at Boston United, Kettering lie 20th in the National League North table. However that position has been greatly improved through the recent run of fine form, unbeaten in seven league games ahead of the trip to Boston including the previous Saturday’s 2-0 win at Alfreton Town.
The links between Brackley Town and Kettering Town are many as one might expect given the geographical proximity. Former Saints players Brett Solkhon, Luke Graham (now player-coach) and Daniel Nti feature in Paul Cox’s squad while Dan Holman has moved the other way. Further links come via former Brackley manager Jon Brady who played at Rockingham Road and Roger Ashby who managed Saints and, with 463 league appearances, has played more times for Kettering than any other player although Brett Solkhon is closing in.
Saints have been in good form and looking to stay in touch with the teams in and around the top, with just the single defeat at Southport in the last 13 league games, the league’s meanest defence and as second top goal scorers.
Looking ahead to the New Year’s Day game, Kevin was open about the challenge for his side: “The pitch here is beginning to cut up a bit, we’ve had so much rain, and that’s not ideal for us because you can’t move the ball so quickly. But to be successful you have to be adaptable and so far we’ve been able to do that. We have to stay together, stay organised, recognise the conditions and what we’re up against. Hopefully if we can do that we can continue to give ourselves a bit of momentum going into a crucial stage of the season.”
If you cannot get to the game you can follow the action on BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Northampton with pre-match, half-time and full-time reports and via the club Twitter feed with a full match report and interviews available on the club website shortly after full-time.