Paul Cox knows Kettering Town are in for a stern test when they make the long trip up to Gateshead this weekend.
The Poppies will head to the north-east with a spring in their step after they kicked off the new Vanarama National League North season with a 1-0 victory over Bradford (Park Avenue) at Latimer Park last Saturday.
Summer signing Claudio Ofosu, who was one of eight league debutants for Kettering, won and then converted a penalty for the winning goal.
And while boss Cox was pleased to get some early points on the board, he admitted it wasn’t a perfect performance and he firmly believes a tough examination awaits his players at the International Stadium tomorrow (Saturday).
“We got off to a good start,” the Poppies manager said.
“We won our first game which is important. The longer it takes to get that first win, the more anxious and apprehensive players and supporters become.
“We know we need to improve in certain areas. You only have to look at the age of the side to know that they will have to grow up quickly at this level.
“But I would say that, if we include our pre-season games, that was the worst we have played and I think that came down to a bit of nervousness in front of a decent crowd on the first day.
“We know there are certain things we need to do better but it wasn’t a bad start.
“However, we know it’s going to be a really tough test on Saturday.
“We are coming up against a club that is full-time and I think they have aspirations to be up there competing for the play-off places.”
The Poppies will have Connor Kennedy and Connor Johnson available again after they both served suspensions on the opening day while summer signing Chris Smith is expected to return from injury.