Don't rest on your laurels, says boss Cox in warning to Poppies players

The Kettering Town manager says he "wants more" despite an encouraging start to the new season by his team

Monday, 27th September 2021, 5:15 pm
Jordon Crawford had a positive impact after coming on as a late substitute for his Kettering Town debut against Spennymoor Town at the weekend. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox has warned his Kettering Town players that anyone seen to be “believing their own press” and “resting on their laurels” will find themselves out of the starting line-up at Latimer Park.

The Poppies manager’s warning came after the Poppies suffered their first home defeat of the season on Saturday as they were beaten 2-1 by Spennymoor Town.

The new-look Kettering side have made an encouraging start to the new National League North season and, despite their weekend loss, sit in the top eight of the early standings.

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But Cox, in his own words, wants more.

The Poppies signed former AFC Wimbledon full-back Luke O’Neill, who made 19 appearances for Kettering in a previous spell some 10 years ago, ahead of last weekend’s game while the likes of Connor Kennedy, Gary Stohrer, Rhys Sharpe and Riccardo Calder are all currently sidelined because of injury.

But Cox says those currently in possession of the shirts would be unwise to relax.

“People will remember I used the word ‘consistency’ quite a lot early in the season,” he said.

“There’s a few of our players getting talked about and the key to being a good player is being someone who consistently does it for 46 games.

“So I am waiting to see if people read their own press, believe their own press and believe they have a right to relax. If that happens, we have others who can come in and write their own press.

“We have some good players and I am taking nothing away from what we have done so far this season because we have gone above and beyond what many expected. But I want more.

“If people don’t want to be a team player and want to relax and rest on their laurels then they will find themselves out of the team.

“And it will be hard to get back because we have the likes of Connor Kennedy, Gary Stohrer, Rhys Sharpe and Riccardo Calder to come back into the squad.

“We have signed Luke O’Neill and there will be players who will be disappointed.

“All I said to the boys in the dressing-room after the game on Saturday was to make sure they are not one who is disappointed.

“I watch the games, I assess us as a unit and individually and make decisions based on that and they will alway be professional decisions.

“We can’t afford to carry superstars, we can’t afford to think we have arrived.”

Cox, meanwhile, had words of praise for summer signing Jordon Crawford.

The forward, who joined from Corby Town, has found opportunities in short supply so far this season but he made a real impact in the latter stages of Saturday’s game.

Coming on as a late substitute, Crawford set up what proved to be only a consolation goal scored by Kyle Perry and was then just one heavy touch away from even bagging a dramatic equaliser.

There have been calls for Crawford to be given that opportunity of a starting role and Cox said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the kid.

“He has had Callum Powell, Decarrey Sheriff, Isaac Stones in front of him and then Claudio Ofosu gets his chance and takes it.

“The lad (Crawford) has had to be really, really patient but what he’s done is he’s come in and worked hard in every session.

“He came on at the weekend and worked his socks off for the team.

“It might take longer for Crawfs to get that opportunity but I know that when he gets it, he will take it.”