Cox pleased as Poppies come through a 'competitive game'
Kettering Town were back in pre-season action at Stamford last night (Thursday)
Paul Cox was pleased to see Kettering Town come through “a real competitive game” after they claimed a 3-1 pre-season friendly win at Stamford last night (Thursday).
The match action was most welcome for the Poppies boss after Tuesday’s Newlands Shield match with Brackley Town was called off due to a Covid case in the Saints squad and an inter-club friendly was cut short after goalkeeper Jacob Wood suffered a serious head injury.
Kettering fell behind early on at Stamford but Callum Powell levelled with a fine free-kick before, after a number of changes were made in the second half, two late goals from a trialist wrapped up the victory.
The Poppies now move on to their second game in the space of 48 hours when they play Corby Town at Steel Park tomorrow (3pm) but Cox was delighted with the step up in intensity his team received from Graham Drury’s team last night.
“Without being disrespectful to the first two fixtures, that was a real competitive game,” the Poppies manager said.
“I have known Graham for a number of years and when he asked if we wanted a game we knew what was going to happen, it was a very competitive game and I learned so much.
“Once we settled down after the first 10 or 12 minutes, I thought we took control of the ball.
“We opened little gaps up and looked very fluid going forward.
“We got players 50 to 60 minutes in their legs in a competitive game and, to be fair to Stamford, they came out and had a real go at us and we had to defend.
“The pleasing part is that in the second half the average age of our team was around 19. I was pleased with the way they went about their business.
“One thing we didn’t want was a testimonial game. The fitness we have got from this is fantastic.
“I’m never worried about the scores in pre-season but what I have said to the boys is that winning becomes a habit and that’s three in a row now with one goal conceded.
“We are going to have tests as we move forward but personally, I am happy about where we are at because the squad isn’t as strong as I want it to be just yet.”
Cox, meanwhile, has strongly hinted that Connor Kennedy is set to be named as Kettering’s captain for next season.
The midfielder has been an outstanding performer since joining from Corby two years ago.
Kennedy wore the armband at Stamford last night and when asked who would be the captain, Cox replied: “I had a chat with Connor. The young man has broad shoulders and I told him I’d like him to be captain next year.
“To be honest, I am more concerned about him progressing his game and going on to play at a higher level so I don’t want it to affect his game.
“But I got the response I knew I would, he told me he’d be honoured to.”