Cox piles the praise on players as Kettering win on the road

Paul Cox insists it is the Kettering Town players who deserve the credit as they incredible turnaround in fortunes in the Vanarama National League North continued with a 2-0 success at Alfreton Town.

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 8:13 am
Tre Mitford scores the first of his two goals in Kettering Town's 2-0 victory at Alfreton Town. Pictures by Peter Short

Tre Mitford marked his first league start for the club by scoring both goals as the Poppies moved eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Kettering have gone on a seven-match unbeaten run in the league since Cox’s arrival at the club while this weekend’s win saw them keep a third clean sheet in a row in the league.

And boss Cox was particularly pleased as his team bounced back from the first defeat of his reign when they were beaten at FC United of Manchester in the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy last weekend.

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Thumbs up from Tre Mitford after the final whistle

“I think the players deserve an incredible amount of credit,” the Kettering manager said.

“We have got them structured, we have got them a bit sharper and I think we have got them a bit more mentally focused.

“We have questioned them and I think I have tried to psychologically motivate them.

“I am not scared of players giving something back at me and there were some harsh words said last week because I felt we dropped our standards as a football club.

“But they have come up trumps, even with a few tired legs out there. The players are the ones who are going through the mill for the club at the minute and they deserve the credit.

“I am just delighted that we bounced back after the disappointment of last week.

“I thought the boys showed immense character. We have gone to a hard place to play and kept a clean sheet.

“It was a very good away performance and I have got to be really pleased with the effort the boys have put in.”

Cox singled out goalkeeper Paul White and striker Mitford for individual praise following the victory with the Poppies stopper making two superb saves to preserve another clean sheet.

The Poppies boss added: “We swapped the system around again, Brett (Solkhon) came back in and we played a back three and I thought they were immense, as was Paul White.

“He pulled off two great saves in the game and he deserves a special mention.

“Since I have been here, there have been games where he hasn’t had much to do and this was the same because there were long periods where he didn’t have much coming at him.

“But his concentration levels and the two saves he made were outstanding.

“As far as Tre is concerned, I have been trying to work psychologically with him since I have been at the club.

“He has power and pace, he’s a good size and what I have been trying to explain to him is that he needs to play to his strengths.

“He has listened, he has learned, he has had to be patient and the two goals he scored were excellent.

“They were two complete finishes. He had a lot to do on both chances but he has finished them superbly.

“He deserves that bit of praise. But now he needs to take it to another level. He has the power and the pace but he has to believe in what he can become.”

The Poppies’ festive programme continues with a tough county derby with fourth-placed Brackley Town at Latimer Park on Boxing Day.