Paul Cox is relishing Kettering Town’s big Boxing Day derby with Brackley Town as he labelled it a “mouthwatering game”.
The Poppies and their Northamptonshire rivals will do battle at Latimer Park in what is the first part of a festive double between the two clubs with the reverse fixture set to be played at St James Park on Saturday, January 2.
Kettering also have a trip to Alfreton Town on Monday as they bid to maintain their good run that has lifted them off the foot of the Vanarama National League North.
The Poppies have suffered just one defeat in their last eight matches in all competitions and have also progressed to the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Trophy after they fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Northern Premier League side Ashton United last weekend.
But Cox’s full focus is currently on Boxing Day and the clash with Kevin Wilkin’s Brackley who have won three games in a row in the league and are starting to show signs of the form that has made them a regular feature in the upper echelons of the table in recent seasons.
Despite the problems with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Boxing Day derby is set to be played out in front of a crowd at Latimer Park.
And Poppies boss Cox said: “It seems to me that this Covid-19 situation is going from bad to worse but I think our group are really positive at the moment.
“We are erasing any sort of negativity that is around us when it comes to the pandemic and they look very very focused at the minute.
“The games are going to come thick and fast and I think the boys are looking confident. We feel positive coming into a busy Christmas period.
“It’s nice to have a proper local derby on Boxing Day, the fans will be there which is a major plus and this type of fixture over Christmas is what you want to play football for. It’s a big local game and there’s lots at stake.
“Brackley probably didn’t get off to the start they wanted but they have found the consistency that we have come to expect from them over the past three or four years at this level.
“It’s a mouthwatering game and hopefully we can get as many supporters as is legally possible and we will be doing all we can to get a positive result for them.”
Kettering’s reward for their FA Trophy win at Ashton last Saturday, which came about after second-half goals from Decarrey Sheriff and Connor Kennedy, is a fourth-round home tie with league rivals Leamington on January 16.
The Brakes are bang in form at the moment and on an 11-game unbeaten run, which includes their penalty shoot-out success at National League side Wrexham in the third round last weekend.
“At this stage, I don’t think you are going to get any sort of easy tie,” Cox added.
“We have got Leamington, it’s positive that we have got a home draw but it’s against a team that is flying at the moment.
“It’s another challenge for us and one we will approach in the right way. I think it’s got the makings of a cracking cup tie.
“But we have got a lot of football to be played before that and we want to keep up the form we have been showing in the league.”