Cox may tweak Poppies' plans as first friendlies arrive
Paul Cox says he may have to tweak certain parts of his pre-season plans after a date for the start of the new campaign was confirmed.
Kettering Town’s season looks set to get under way in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on October 3 after Cox had originally planned to have his squad ready for a potential starting date of September 19.
But, with a later date now in the diary, the Poppies boss insists he will “look at the situation” as he bids to have his squad in peak condition for the beginning of the season in October.
Kettering are gearing up for a busy start to their friendly schedule this weekend.
Cox is set to use every player either signed or just training with the club on Saturday as they play two 60-minute matches with Peterborough United in the morning before heading across the city to take on Peterborough Northern Star at 3pm.
“Going up against Peterborough United is a good one for us to have at this stage,” the Poppies manager said.
“The lads have worked really hard on conditioning and fitness and now they will be going into some friendly action, which will test certain parts of our game.
“Peterborough will be using their first-team squad across the two games so it will be a good test to see where our fitness levels are compared to a big League One club.
“I am looking to get each player between 45 and 60 minutes on the pitch and we can use all three games to make that happen and ensure we get them the game time they need at this stage.
“Our planning will change to a certain point but our aim is to ensure the final stage of pre-season has a real intensity about it.
“I am wary that pre-season can go on too long and that can have a detrimental effect on players sometimes so we will look at the whole situation.
“The fitness levels are good at the moment but I think there will need to be a small break now to level that out.
“The most important thing is making sure we hit our peak on October 3.”
Cox, meanwhile, insists he is happy to stay patient when it comes to adding further new faces to his squad.
“We are working really hard and, like I said before, it’s not over,” he added.
“We are having to be patient. I want to add more quality and depth to the squad and to do that, we are going to have to be really patient and possibly wait for players who have been released from higher levels or who are on trial to become available for a club at our level.
“We are working extremely hard and we will continue to look at players who we feel will add to the group we have already got.”
Kettering confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that 16-year-old striker George Herbert has signed his first senior contract with the club.
Herbert joined the Poppies last season having played for Whitworth’s under-16 team before graduating to the United Counties League club’s first team.
He was offered an elite scholarship with Kettering on leaving school where he continued to develop and was part of the first-team squad for the National League North match at Hereford during last season.