Chris Plummer knows Corby Town are in for a tough test when they face Northampton Town in the NFA Maunsell Cup final at Steel Park tonight (Wednesday, 7.30pm).
But the Steelmen boss fully expects his players to give the Cobblers a thorough examination as well.
Corby earned tonight’s clash after winning the NFA Hillier Senior Cup at the end of last season and it represents Plummer’s new-look squad’s third pre-season match of the summer following a 4-0 reverse to Cambridge United and the 0-0 draw at Daventry Town at the weekend.
And the Steelmen manager is hoping his team can carry on from where they left off on Saturday – at least from a defensive point of view.
“We looked solid at the weekend and that is pleasing,” he said.
“We have to improve defensively after last season and it is an area we are putting a lot of focus on. We conceded four or five on far too many occasions and that is something that simply can’t happen again this season.
“But, at the same time, we have to remember that we scored plenty of goals and while I want us to be tighter at the back, it doesn’t mean we can’t go and express ourselves.
“It is going to be a tough game, it always will be when you play a side who are much higher up the pyramid.
“But it is a good challenge for our players and we beat Northampton last summer so it can be done.
“Ultimately, the result doesn’t really matter. It is another step towards the league season and another chance for the lads to get minutes on the pitch.
“But we will certainly try to give them a good test. The final score won’t matter as much as the performance. I want us to perform well and if we do that then a good result might follow.”
Plummer added striker Nabil Shariff to his squad following Saturday’s game while Tom McGowan, who was with the Steelmen last season, has also now agreed terms for the Calor League Premier Division campaign.
Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd is set to give trialists Gary Deegan and Kevin Amankwaah further run-outs at Steel Park while Darren Purse should also feature. Striker JJ Hooper could also get another chance to impress.
“We’ll go as strong as we can and there will be a few players who didn’t play on Saturday who will need to get a game in,” the Northampton manager said.
“All of the friendlies we have got will give us something different. I picked them because they will all present us with a different kind of problem.”
Should tonight’s clash end in a draw after 90 minutes it will go straight to a penalty shoot-out with no extra-time. Admission is £8 for adults, £4 for concessions and £2 for under-16s.