Pre-Match: Kettering Town

Tomorrow night, Notts travel to Kettering Town for their fourth pre-season fixture, on the back of Saturday’s loss at Hinckley United.

I spoke with supporter Gary Lewis of the Poppies At The Gates Of Non Park blog to get his thoughts on the fixture – and also to late him know we haven’t forgotten 2008’s FA Cup Third Round defeat.

What have the last 12 months been like you as a Kettering fan? It’s been an uncomfortable close-season for instance, what’s the situation there?

Your guess is as good as mine, if not better! Our Chariman’s plan is to move the club to Nene Park, which is about to become vacant due to the imminent demise of Rushden & Diamonds. It looks a good deal from his point of view.

Our own landlord at Rockingham Road in Kettering has become ridiculously greedy, and we only have a couple of seasons left on our lease. This newish ground is about 9 miles from our old ground and with infinitely better facilities.

All he needs to do is convince enough of us to follow him, plus whatever dregs we pick up from the old Diamonds club and hey presto – successful team. The jury is still deliberating that one….

How are expectations of the season ahead of you?

Due to the uncertain nature of the club I would say not changing our name, fulfilling our fixtures and hopefully not getting relegated would constitute a good season.

Which of your players should Notts be wary of in their friendly game?

You should be wary of all of our players! Unfortunately, as I type, we have only half a dozen on contract.

Of them the best is striker Jean Paul Marna. He may play next week, if he can be arsed to come back form France for pre-season training (he ddin’t last season!)

And then, who’s the weakest link? Anyone you think might struggle through the afternoon?

To my mind, JP’s strike partner Adam Cunnington. He is an honest trier, but painfully not up to the required standard. He scored his first goal for us in our last game of last season, at something like the 15th time of asking.

Similarly, how much do you know about Notts? Who would you consider the danger men and who are you not too concerned about?

I assume former Poppy Craig Westcarr is still there? Good player if occassionally drifts out of the game. We also recall Lee Hughes from ripping us to bits in his Kidderminster days about a thousand years ago.

Obviously we’ve already locked horns not so long ago in the FA Cup – a day you’ll still have fond memories of i assume?

Yeah, happy days. Of course, we didn’t realise how good or expensive our team was back then. They’ve pretty much all moved on to bigger and better things, at much the same time our Chairman stopped throwing silly money around!

We’ve been run as a much tighter, cheaper ship since then. We don’t win as many, but when we do it feels more deserved – you know?

Finally, a prediction for the afternoon?

About 22 degrees, with sun setting about 9.15PM. Pitch hard and dry. A few hundred people sitting on terraces wondering what they’ve accomplished with their lives!

Remember to check out Gary’s blog at Poppies At The Gates Of Non Park, and to catch up with his post-match thoughts right here after the match.

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