Marcus Law will demand the same “endeavour and work ethic” from his Kettering Town players as they head into two crucial Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division home matches over the next week.
The Poppies have endured a frustrating few days after their trip to Dunstable Town was postponed due to frozen pitch last weekend.
And that was followed by bitter disappointment on Tuesday night as they led table-topping Leamington 1-0 courtesy of a Nathan Hicks penalty, only for the game to be abandoned following a power failure at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium just before half-time.
But Law is now intrigued to see how his players will react to that frustrating setback.
They remain nine points off the play-off places and are now gearing up to take on fourth-placed Merthyr Town tomorrow (Saturday) before Frome Town, who are seventh, come to Latimer Park next Tuesday night.
And Law is adamant that his Kettering side can pick up the results they need to get back into the hunt for a top-five finish, as long as they are willing to put in the same sort of “shift” they did for 42 minutes in midweek.
“We walked into Tuesday night knowing we had three teams in the top seven in the next three matches and we know that we have failed miserably against the sides at the top so far this season,” the Poppies boss said.
“We had a team meeting ahead of the Leamington game and discussed the whys, wheres and hows.
“We talked about what was required to try to get a positive result and credit to the boys, they carried it out for 42 minutes.
“You can talk about tactics and formations all you want but we wanted to make sure our effort, endeavour and work ethic were spot on and they were.
“The system that worked for Leamington might not work for Merthyr.
“But the endeavour and work rate are things that can be carried into the next game and we have to make sure that is the case.
“If the players carry out their roles and responsibilities in the same way for the rest of the season then there won’t be many teams who can live with them.
“We certainly have to stay at the same level for the next two home games.
“I just want them to go and put in that shift over and over again and I am now really interested to see how we react to the disappointment.”
Aaron O’Connor missed Tuesday’s game due to a hamstring injury and will be assessed ahead of tomorrow but Paul Malone will miss out as he recovers from a gallstones operation.
Kettering, meanwhile, will be holding trials for this year’s education programme next month.
The Poppies offer a two-year full-time football excellence and educational programme to those aged between 16 and 20 and a trial for this September’s programme for current year 11s who are looking at their next options will be held at Latimer Park on Monday, February 13 between 9am and midday.
If you would like further information or would like to book a place, contact Jason Thurland on 07969 864328 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org