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Poppies trip for Blues

After the frustration of seeing their game at Basingstoke called off, Blues will look to return to action with a trip to high-flying Kettering Town, on Saturday

The trip to Kettering will be another tough test for Watson’s young team against a side who – despite seeing two home games postponed in the last week – are fourth in the table with 64 points from 31 games, and look a certainty for at least a place in the play-offs.

They progressed to the final qualifying round of the FA Cup with wins against Romulus, Kidsgrove Athletic and Basford United before drawing at Nantwich and surprisingly losing the home replay. The FA Trophy campaign lasted one game as they went down 3-2 at Leek Town.

When the sides met at the ProKit UK Stadium on Halloween, Blues were uunlucky to lose 2-0. They had numerous opportunities to get on the scoresheet, with a good chance cleared just before the visitors’ opener and an effort controversially disallowed seconds before the killer strike in the second half.

The Poppies’ financial problems condemned Blues to a second year in Conference North back in 2012/13, and their problems saw them drop to the fourth tier of non-league football that season. But they bounced back and after losing in the play-offs in 2014, they won the Central Division.

The loss of both Rockingham Road and Nene Park means they currently share Burton Park Wanderers’ ground in Burton Latimer, and posted a very respectable average crowd of 502 last season which has now grown to 671.

The sides met in the Isthmian League in 2003/4 before Blues became founder members of Conference South and the Poppies joined Conference North. Blues won 4-1 at Woodside Park before losing the return 3-2, and they also lost 4-2 in the League Cup that season.