Cox delighted to have two top stoppers at Poppies

Goalkeepers Rhys Davies and Jackson Smith have both played key roles in Kettering Town's good start to the season

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:44 pm
Rhys Davies and Jackson Smith have been battling it out for the number one jersey at Kettering Town this season. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox has piled the praise on goalkeepers Rhys Davies and Jackson Smith as they continue to battle it out for the number one jersey at Kettering Town.

Both stoppers, who have been working with goalkeeping coach Shaun Allen since the summer, have impressed during the Poppies’ campaign so far.

Davies started in goal in Tuesday’s FA Cup third qualifying round replay win over Leamington but suffered a thigh injury just before the hour mark with Smith coming off the bench and slotting straight in to secure a clean sheet as Kettering wrapped up a 2-0 success.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Isaac Stones takes the congratulations after he came off the bench to score the Poppies' second goal on Tuesday night

Smith now looks set to start in Saturday’s home clash with Chester as Kettering return to National League North duty.

But Cox is just happy to have two quality goalkeepers battling it out in a friendly rivalry.

“I have to give credit to Shaun for coming in and working with them and it’s an absolute pleasure to have two young goalkeepers like we have,” the Poppies boss said.

“Jackson has been unlucky because he got into the side and was doing well but then got a little knock and Rhys has come in and kept his spot.

“Both of them have worked hard in training, both are top drawer keepers who have fantastic futures in front of them.

“The biggest praise I can give them is that neither of them have bitched when they haven’t been in the side. They have supported each other and that’s the spirit we have in the camp. There’s no wishing a mistake from someone so someone else gets a chance.

“We have two goalkeepers who have pushed each other and it’s a good headache to have when they are both fit.”

Speaking of selection headaches, Cox knows he has some of the those in the outfield positions.

Isaac Stones came off the bench to score the Poppies’ second goal on Tuesday while Jordon Crawford once again made a claim for a first start with another impressive cameo.

“You have to give credit to Isaac for his goal and also to Crawfs who was unlucky not to get one,” Cox added.

“I have just told these boys to keep going and earn the right. I have got some headaches going forward because I have got some players who don’t deserve to be out of the team at the moment.

“Kyle Perry has waited for his chance and he came on and did exactly what we asked him to do on Saturday and I thought he led the line well again on Tuesday.

“There are loads of headaches and no-one can afford to drop their standards now and there will be some big decisions going forward because we have some good players.

“We need players who want to earn the right every week and if they do that then it’s going to put a smile on everyone’s faces.”