Further signings are a guarantee, says Poppies boss Cox

The Kettering Town manager is targeting more attacking options

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 27th August 2020, 8:00 am
Kettering Town boss Paul Cox
Kettering Town boss Paul Cox

Paul Cox insists it is “a guarantee” that he will be making new additions to his Kettering Town squad in the coming weeks - and when he does, it will be the attacking areas he will be focusing on.

For the Poppies boss and what is already a new-look squad, pre-season is in full flow as the club prepares for the start of the 2020-21 campaign in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on October 3.

Kettering have already confirmed a number of summer signings who have featured during pre-season.

But Cox insists more fresh faces will be coming in, particularly to strengthen his attacking options.

The Poppies have conceded just one goal in their last three friendlies but have scored just twice themselves with the last two outings resulting in successive 0-0 draws at Rushall Olympic last Tuesday and Hednesford Town last Saturday.

When asked if further signings would be coming in, Cox replied: “That’s a guarantee, we need adding to.

“I have deliberately not jumped in and made signings because, as I have seen now, the market is becoming a bit more open.

“We are getting approached by high level players who have played a lot of games in the Football League. I am not saying that’s the process we are going to go down but we have signed some good players now it needs adding to.

“It’s going to be about the squad. I want a good squad and not just a good 11. I want us to have competition and give us a chance to evolve from game to game.

“We will be strengthening and that will mainly be in the more offensive areas.

“You can see by the last two or three results that we are becoming a good, tight unit and becoming hard to score against.

“The players are taking everything on board and I believe our best performance in pre-season so far was last Saturday (at Hednesford). There were full-blooded challenges going in and I think we got more out of that than any other game.

“We started to get a bit of rhythm with our forward play, we were creating chances and now it’s just about adding that final bit of putting the ball in the net which I am sure we can put in place over the next month.”

The Poppies had been due to play another friendly at Stamford on Tuesday night but that was postponed, which means their next outing is at St Ives Town on Saturday.

Cox has slightly adjusted the schedule for the final month before the new season begins with friendlies at Stourbridge (September 8), Redditch United (September 12) and Hemel Hempstead Town (September 15) being added to the line-up.

Indeed, the Kettering boss insists a slight break this week turned out to be beneficial for a squad who have impressed their manager with their work-rate to this point.

“Pre-season has been a bit weird and a bit strange,” Cox explained.

“With the length of it, we always said that we would have to keep and eye on it and restructure it as we went along.

“It’s been a learning curve because no-one has ever really been through it before.

“We are in a good place. We probably started ahead of a lot of teams but our fitness levels are excellent and now it’s just a matter of conditioning for match fitness.

“I think this Saturday will be the game where we finish experimenting. We have had an awful lot of trialists and we have utilised the time to give us an understanding of what is out there in terms of lads who are looking for clubs.

“But after this weekend is when we should see the first-team squad developing.

“We have utilised Tuesday’s game being called off to give the boys a bit of a breather and it’s actually worked out quite well for us.

“The boys have worked really hard, to the point where at Eastwood (in a 2-1 win), for example, it was clear they were running on empty simply because of the work they had been putting in on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

“But they have been absolutely brilliant. They have come back at us with everything and there is a real positivity within the group in everything we do.

“I am just really happy with the way the boys have applied themselves.”