Dean Thomas was delighted to see Kettering Town come through a physical contest as they claimed an impressive 2-1 success at Barwell in their penultimate pre-season friendly.
Goals from Kieren Joseph and Jake Newman sealed the success for the Poppies, who travel to Stamford on Saturday for their final warm-up match before the Calor League Division One Central campaign gets under way at Potters Bar Town on August 17.
It was a competitive encounter in Leicestershire on Tuesday but Thomas was pleased with the way his team stood up to the test.
And he was also full of praise for striker Newman who grabbed his fourth goal of pre-season with a composed finish after the break.
“We knew it would be a physical game and that was one of the reasons we organised it,” the Poppies boss said.
“I felt they overstepped the mark at times with some of the off-the-ball incidents but they gave us a good, competitive game and for 70 minutes I thought we edged it and played the better football.
“They livened up in the second half but I thought we looked organised and disciplined and that is what we will have to be this year.
“It was nice that we slowed the game down towards the end. We were professional and did what was needed to win it. You have to win ugly sometimes and we did that.
“I am pleased for Jake because he has had a frustrating week and he missed four or five chances last Saturday, although the Spalding goalkeeper pulled off some good saves.
“But he is a goalscorer, he makes some wonderful runs and I am sure he is going to be a massive asset for the club.”
Thomas, meanwhile, confirmed the Poppies will be signing left-sided player Nathan Fox, who played the full 90 minutes at Barwell having been with the club last season during a loan spell from Corby Town.
The Kettering manager added: “We are going to sign Nathan. He gives us another option on the left.
“He can cover the left-back position and the left side of midfield as well.
“He wants to get his head down. He has had his setbacks during pre-season but he will come here and get focused.
“I am quite happy with the rest of the squad. We have one more forward that we might be interested in but we have plenty of energy in there.”