GOALKEEPER Andy Kemp (23) is a short-priced favourite to complete a hat-trick of player-of-the-year awards in what could be his one and only season with Daventry Town, writes Mike Tebbitt.
A number of full-time professional clubs, including Rushden and Diamonds, are thought to have carried out spot checks on Kemp, a skilled carpenter who has earned himself a nice little pre-marriage nest egg away from the football field.
The Bedworth-based player won £10,000 recently in a woodwork competition held at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena only weeks before he is due to tie the knot in early May.
Town manager Ady Fuller recognises that the Communications Park club will have to come up with a worthwhile contract if the Central Division’s best goalkeeper is to remain at championship-chasing Daventry next season.
Kemp missed Saturday’s exciting 4-2 win over rivals Rugby Town in order to attend his own stag party but was expected to be back between the sticks for Tuesday’s home game against Slough Town and this Saturday’s trip to Aylesbury.
In his absence loan signing Aaron Butcher from Corby Town turned in a competent performance at the weekend, including a first-rate reflex save from Rugby’s Tyrone Fagan in the first-half.
Kemp has never looked back since ending the Town’s early-season losing run with a last-minute penalty save at Hayes.
With the help of Daventry’s goalkeeping coach Derren Midson he has also improved his ability at dealing with crosses.
Named player-of-the-year for his home town club Bedworth in 2009 and again last year, Kemp is leading contender for the Daventry accolade despite facing fierce competition from Aaron Parkinson, Josh O’Grady, Tom Berwick, Howard Forinton and others.
For the vital last half dozen matches of the campaign the Town will have to rely upon the current squad of players as Woodford United central defender Chris Jackson turned down an approach to switch clubs just before the March 31 transfer deadline.
A 3-2 defeat at Leighton Buzzard on Saturday means Hitchin Town have all but thrown away a seemingly unassailable lead in the title race but Arlesey went into Tuesday night’s round of matches with a one-point lead over Daventry.
Hope remains eternal though as Arlesey travel to Rugby on Saturday before facing leaders Hitchin in the last match of the season on Easter Monday.
If the Town can turn a winning run of 17 into 24 the Central Division title could still be theirs.