Can 21 be the magic FA Trophy number for Poppies?

Kettering Town are all set for a fourth-round clash at Latimer Park this weekend

By Jon Dunham
Friday, 15th January 2021, 8:04 am
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter Short
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox knows the Kettering Town fans are dreaming of a return to Wembley with the hope that 21 is the magic number.

The Poppies’ first-ever appearance at the home of English football was in 1979 when they lost 2-0 to Stafford Rangers in the final of the FA Trophy.

Peter Morris led the club back to Wembley 21 years later in 2000 when they were beaten 3-2 by Kingstonian with Cox part of the squad, although he missed out on playing in the final due to injury.

Now, another 21 years on, Cox’s team have reached the fourth round after wins over Nuneaton Borough and Ashton United.

The Poppies take on in-form Vanarama National League North rivals Leamington in the last 32 at Latimer Park tomorrow (Saturday).

And Cox is pleased to see a bit of excitement in the air.

“The club and I have a history with the FA Trophy,” the Poppies boss said.

“One or two of the supporters have spoken to me about the fact it was 21 years after the first visit to Wembley that we went there again and now we are another 21 years on from that.

“It shows the fans are getting excited about it and rightly so.

“It should be a good game against a team who are doing very well this season.

“I think everyone is looking forward to it, especially after missing out on a game last weekend.

“Hopefully we can put in a good performance but, more importantly, produce a positive result.”

The Poppies will have to go into the clash without the in-form Callum Powell who, along with Rhys Sharpe, is cup-tied but striker Liam Hughes, who has signed on loan from Matlock Town, is available for selection.

“The game with Gateshead being off last weekend did give us a chance to rest a few knocks,” Cox added.

“I think we will have near enough a fully-fit squad to choose from apart from Jamie Chisholm, as it will come a bit too soon for him, and the boys who are cup-tied.”

Kettering’s league game at Chorley, which was due to take place next Tuesday has been postponed to allow Chorley time to prepare for their FA Cup fourth-round clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers a week today.

Meanwhile, the clash with Gateshead, which was postponed due to a frozen pitch at Latimer Park last Saturday, has now been rearranged for Tuesday, February 16 (7.45pm).