Date: Sun 31 Mar 2024

By Andy Poole


Milestone for popular defender amidst impressive run

Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Barwell made it five straight Pitching In Southern League Premier Central victories for Kettering Town.

It’s a run that has seen them extinguish any lingering doubts about being dragged into a second successive relegation battle and as we enter the final month of the campaign, they are now looking up the table and setting their sights on finishing as high as possible.

On Bank Holiday Monday they face their latest challenge in the shape of a Stratford Town outfit whose own impressive recent form of one defeat – ironically at the hands of the Poppies - from their last five games, saw them move into the play-off places on Saturday following victory at Stourbridge.

One player who will be particularly relishing Monday’s clash is defender, Rhys Sharpe. He left the Bards after a pandemic-affected spell to join Kettering in November 2020 and has just broken through the 100-appearance mark for his current club.

“It’s a proud achievement for any player at any level to make over 100 appearances for one club,” the popular former Northern Ireland U21 international told us. “But especially at this level of the game where things can change so much and so quickly.

“I’ve seen a lot of players come and go during my time here. When I first arrived, I was just eager to get started and show what I could do to help the team. I like to think that I’m generally a consistent player wherever I’ve been and whatever position I’ve played, which has helped my longevity.

“There have been times over the course of this season where I could have brought more to the table at certain times, I’m not afraid to admit that, but I am happy with my own general performance levels during what has been an up and down season for the team.

“It was a difficult start and there have been times when the luck has not been with us, but we’ve always had enough in the changing room and I think that the new management staff have been able to bring that out of us.

“There’s a good balance amongst the staff and all have good, valuable inputs, so us players know exactly what is expected of us and the levels that we have to reach to stay in the team. The Gaffer certainly isn’t afraid to make bold decisions and stand by them and it’s been reflected in our recent good form.

“It’s great that this group of players is finally starting to show what we can do and hopefully this will continue so that we can end the season strongly and finish as high as we possibly can.

“I previously played at this level a few years back and it’s still just as tough and competitive as it was then. There is a mix of quality players from different backgrounds and a lot of talent throughout the League.

“We’re looking forward to pitting our wits against Stratford Town on Monday. They have their sights set on being involved in the play-offs, so it will be a good gauge for us.

“As I say, we’re just focused on building on our momentum now and ending the season on a positive note to see how high we can finish from where we are.”

IMAGE: Kettering Town FC

Kettering Town Web Site

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