Kettering Town boss Cox is 'embracing the frustration'

The Poppies play Leamington for the third time this season tomorrow (Saturday)
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter ShortKettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter Short
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox says he is “embracing” the frustration he believes everyone around Kettering Town is feeling at the moment.

The Poppies’ Vanarama National League North campaign seems to have levelled off somewhat after Cox’s new-look squad had made such an encouraging start in the first couple of months.

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They head into this weekend’s game at Leamington without a win in four matches in all competitions.

But, slightly more worryingly, they have picked up just one point from their last two games despite having led 2-0 in both of them.

The advantage was wiped out completely in a 3-2 home defeat to Boston United and then, last weekend, goals from Jordon Crawford and Alex Brown seemingly had them in control at bottom side AFC Telford United, only for the hosts to hit back with two second-half goals to earn a point.

Kettering sit in 15th place in the table with 19 points to their name and this Saturday’s game is the start of a run that will see them play five matches in 15 days, including a pre-Christmas clash with Southport at Latimer Park next Tuesday night.

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Cox knows the frustration is building in the club’s fanbase over recent results.

And he said: “Everyone is frustrated at the moment and I am embracing that. It sounds a bit weird but I am embracing the fact that everyone is a bit disappointed and frustrated at the moment.

“I think we have made great strides. People have to cast their minds back.

“I cast my mind back to last season and little periods of the season before that where, when we went to places, I don’t think there was a belief in our club to get results and to go there and feel like we belong.

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“We’re not the finished product at the moment. We are building but I do think we are ahead of where we should and could be.

“The things frustrating me, the supporters, my staff and the players themselves are that we have bossed games and not got the results.

“This all started with the FA Cup games against Buxton. We were 2-0 up at home and we lost concentration and didn’t win the game. We went away to Buxton and were 1-0 up and in control but we lost concentration and went out.

“The games against Darlington, Chorley, Hereford and, to a point, Gloucester in the FA Trophy, all come down to key moments where we have lost concentration and ended up having to chase things. These are massive markers that change the dynamic of games.

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“We have talked for a while about not having those experienced heads to calm the group down and regain our composure. That’s the thing we are lacking at the moment.

“But there are a lot of massive pluses about us at this stage and, again, on Saturday we were in control.

“Telford aren’t a bottom of the league club, everyone knows that and I never looked at their position and thought it was going to be an easy game.

“But we commanded the game for 60 minutes and it should have been put to bed in the second half. It’s a bit of naivety and a bit of inexperience that we are going through at the moment, that’s my take on it.

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“Now, we can sit there and implode as a football club or we can be resolute and we can build from here.

“We are okay where we are, I’m not saying it’s perfect, but I have been analytical of our performances over the past seven or eight games and we have been a bit erratic.

“What we have to do is learn to calm ourselves down when things go against us, regroup and get our composure back.

“It’s frustration. If we were relegation fodder, people would just be shrugging their shoulders.

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“I think people can see that we are improving and that we are a different animal to previous seasons.

“It’s the finer details. That’s not something I am saying to pacify people, I firmly believe that if we eradicate these minor errors then we can compete with anyone in the league.”

This weekend’s clash will be the third meeting between Kettering and Leamington this season after the Poppies beat the Brakes 2-0 in an Emirates FA Cup third qualifying round replay following a 3-3 draw in Warwickshire.

Leamington sit in 10th place but are without a win in their last four league matches.

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And Cox added: “There’s not much we don’t know about Leamington and vice-versa.

“I don’t think there will be much that Paul (Leamington manager Holleran) has to work out about us.

“It’s a good fixture for us to get our teeth into. I just think everyone is looking forward to playing again.

“There is a bit of uncertainty again with the Covid situation but we will be ready and I know the boys are looking forward to another game.”