Cox demanding a response from his Poppies

Paul Cox was disappointed with Kettering Town's display at FC United of Manchester last weekend and is now demanding a response when they return to league action at Alfreton Town tomorrow. Picture by Peter ShortPaul Cox was disappointed with Kettering Town's display at FC United of Manchester last weekend and is now demanding a response when they return to league action at Alfreton Town tomorrow. Picture by Peter Short
Paul Cox was disappointed with Kettering Town's display at FC United of Manchester last weekend and is now demanding a response when they return to league action at Alfreton Town tomorrow. Picture by Peter Short | other
Paul Cox will be seeking a “response” from his Kettering Town players when they head to Alfreton Town tomorrow (Saturday).

The Poppies suffered their first defeat since Cox took charge of the team as they were beaten 2-1 at Northern Premier League side FC United of Manchester in the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy last weekend.

The performance, more so than the result, drew criticism from Cox who admitted it would be “back to basics” for his squad in training this week.

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The trip to Alfreton is the start of a tough run of fixtures over the festive period with the Poppies set to host Northamptonshire neighbours Brackley Town on Boxing Day.

That is followed by a clash at Boston United on December 28 while the reverse fixture with Brackley at St James Park will kick-off 2020 on New Year’s Day.

Kettering are currently five points clear of the relegation zone in the Vanarama National League North but Cox knows his team can’t afford many more displays like the one they served up in Manchester last weekend.

“First and foremost, I am looking for a response now,” the Poppies manager said.

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“The performance at FC United wasn’t up to scratch and the result followed that.

“Aside from the first 45 minutes against Blyth Spartans, we haven’t let our standards drop but we did last Saturday.

“Now we will see what the players are made of with the game at Alfreton.

“The players have been putting in consistent performances but we let our standard slip last weekend.

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“We didn’t implement our game plan, we didn’t impose ourselves on them. In possession and out of possession, I thought we were very poor.

“So it has been back to basics in training this week and we will see if we can rectify it tomorrow.”

Cox confirmed striker Aaron O’Connor is still struggling with the injury, which ruled him out of the FA Trophy defeat at FC United.

But Brett Solkhon is set to be available again having missed the clash at Broadhurst Park because of personal reasons.