Ricky Marheineke reckons his St Ives Town side can stun the Southern League Premier Division champions elect for a second time.

Saints pulled off arguably the finest result of the campaign when triumphing 3-0 at title favourites Kettering Town back in early December 1.

And this Saturday they do battle with the pacesetting Poppies again when welcoming them to Westwood Road, 3pm.

It’s a fixture described by Marheineke as a ‘free hit’ for mid-table Saints, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be doing all they can to throw another spanner into the Northamptonshire side’s title works.

“Kettering are flying and they will definitely want revenge against us,” said Marheineke. “No-one will expect us to get a result, but look what happened at their place.

“We’ve got to hope we play well and they have an off day. We can only control the first part of that statement and that’s been the focus in training this week.

“It’s Kettering’s title to lose at the moment and they definitely won’t want to drop points against us again, but it would be a terrific achievement for us to pick up a point or three.

“They will bring plenty of fans and I’m sure our supporters will turn out in force as well. It will be a good occasion and one in which we will aim to do ourselves proud.

“But one thing that’s certain is we are going to have to be far better this Saturday than we were last Saturday.”

It’s a match expected to attract a large attendance with suggestions that Kettering could bring as many as 300 travelling supporters.

There is likely to be a new face in the Saints squad to face Kettering with Marheineke closing in on the signing of central defender Gavin Hoyte.

The former St Neots Town colossus arrives at Westwood Road from Division One Central side Bedford Town.

Full-back Ben Toseland, who has been on loan from Kettering for the past month, has now completed his temporary stay in Saints colours. It’s a deal which could potentially be extended after the game this Saturday.

Saints also have Charlie De’Ath suspended following his dismissal against Rushall Olympic and he then misses two further matches when away at the end of this month.

Marheineke did reveal earlier this week that a return for Peterborough United youngster Sam Cartwright was a possibility after he impressed during the first half of the campaign for Saints, but that deal won’t now happen.