Marcus Law is hoping the decisions he made this week will pay off as Kettering Town bid to reach the first round proper of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in six years this weekend.
The Poppies, who remain on top of the Evo-Stik South League Premier after a 0-0 draw at Biggleswade Town on Tuesday night, head to Evo-Stik League Premier side Nantwich Town in the fourth qualifying round on Saturday.
Law chose to rest midfielder Ben Milnes and defender Gary Mulligan in midweek while top scorer Aaron O’Connor and the influential Lindon Meikle were brought off in the second half with the game still firmly in the balance.
Law admitted there was “frustration in some quarters” after those decisions but the Poppies have a clean bill of health heading into Saturday as they look to secure a place alongside the Sky Bet League One and Two clubs in Monday’s draw.
And the manager, whose team fell at this hurdle to National League side Solihull Moors this time last year, is ready for the judgement to be made on the decisions.
Law said: “If we were heading to Solihull Moors or another National League side at the weekend then you wouldn’t have seen Gary Mulligan and Ben Milnes being rested on Tuesday and you wouldn’t have seen Lindon Meikle and Aaron O’Connor coming off with half-an-hour to go.
“This weekend we are up against Nantwich who are at the same level and have the same aspirations as us.
“And sometimes, games come along that are bigger than people. This game is all about the club and that comes first.
“The fact is, if we do our job right on Saturday and we get a positive result then we will be in the hat with clubs like Blackburn Rovers and Coventry City and there will be the potential for a very big reward for the club in the draw.
“As the manager, I have to take that into account. The players and staff are rightly focused on just winning the next game and I wouldn’t have that any other way.
“There was a bit of frustration in some quarters with the decisions I made.
“But the judgement on whether they were right can be made at 5pm on Saturday and, indeed, at the end of April.”