Poppies can’t ‘hide’ as they bid to bounce back

Liam Bateman challenges Leamington's Rob Thompson-Brown during Kettering Town's midweek defeat. Picture by Steven Prouse
Liam Bateman challenges Leamington's Rob Thompson-Brown during Kettering Town's midweek defeat. Picture by Steven Prouse

Marcus Law has warned his Kettering Town players that they can’t “hide” as they bid to bounce back from their first defeat of the season.

Having opened their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division campaign with a solid 2-0 success at Dorchester Town last weekend, the Poppies were quickly brought back down to earth in midweek.

Much-fancied Leamington produced an impressive display to secure a 2-0 victory at Latimer Park on Tuesday night.

And the way his team performed left Law concerned.

The Poppies are back on home soil tomorrow (Saturday) when they take on another of last season’s play-off semi-finalists in the form of Hitchin Town while a tough clash against Redditch United follows on next Tuesday night in a game which will be played at Bedworth United’s home ground.

And Law believes some of his players need to grow “a personality” and ensure there isn’t a repeat of what happened in midweek.

“They are going to have to bounce back,” Law said.

“I said to them after Tuesday that you have to have a personality at this club, whether that is being nasty or having that bravery to make something happen.

“You can’t just hide out there and we had too many players hiding on Tuesday night.

“We have gone from a comfortable performance to that and we have probably got to look at the age of the squad and the personnel.

“We have got another team who were up there in the play-offs last season.

“Hitchin will have seen that we have struggled at home in the week and they will have their tails up.

“We fancied ourselves on Tuesday, we thought we could do something but we got a lesson and we have to deal with it.”

The Poppies’ cause wasn’t helped on Tuesday night as they lost both Liam Canavan and Ben Stephens to injuries.

Stephens was withdrawn at half-time due to a hand injury while Canavan lasted just two minutes in the second half before being forced off with an ankle problem.

Law added: “Liam seemed to roll his ankle.

“We strapped it up to see if he could carry on but he couldn’t put any weight on it.

“Ben drifted out of the game slightly but it looked like was stamped on his hand and he was in a bit of distress with it.”

Hitchin have had a mixed start to the new campaign.

They were 3-0 down against newly-promoted Cinderford Town on the first day but came back to win 4-3.

However, they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Hayes & Yeading United on Tuesday night.