Poppies are the favourites but Cox has a word of warning

You’d have to go back a fair while to find the last time Kettering Town went into a Vanarama National League North match as favourites to win.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 7:45 am
Paul Cox will be demanding even more from his Kettering Town players despite their fine form of late. Picture by Peter Short

A season of struggle has been turned on its head following the arrival of Paul Cox as the club’s new manager and the Poppies have hit new heights on the past two weekends after beating Farsley Celtic 1-0 at home before recording a last-gasp 2-1 success at Spennymoor Town last Saturday thanks to Mansfield Town loanee Jason Law’s stoppage-time winner.

Both Farsley and Spennymoor were sitting in the play-off places ahead of their matches with Cox’s rejuvenated Kettering side, who remain just five points clear of the relegation but have now risen to 17th in the table.

Having seen their Northants derby with Brackley Town fall foul of the weather on Tuesday night, the Poppies are now gearing up to host Hereford at Latimer Park.

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Hereford sit just one place and one point about Kettering going into the clash and, given the two teams’ recent form, Cox’s team have been installed as favourites to take the points.

Cox believes that is a sure sign of how far his team have come but he also issued a stern warning to his players as he tries to ensure they don’t get into “any delusions of grandeur”.

When asked if he could remember the last time the Poppies went into a game as favourites, Cox said: “It’s a great question! I don’t think there’s been a time since I have been here where we have gone into any game being the favourites.

“I don’t really look at the bookies or anything like that but if that’s the case then it’s just another step in the right direction for the boys and it’s something we have to deal with.

“I look at things like that as being a positive. The little bit of added pressure that comes with it, you have to deal with it.

“But the fact remains that we are still chasing. You look at a club the size of Hereford, they really shouldn’t be at this level of football. It’s a proper Football League set-up with a proper Football League fanbase.

“I know people will say we are on the up and we have had a good set of results but I still think that when you come up against the Herefords and York Citys of this world, with their resources and infrastructure, it is always going to be another very tough game.

“I don’t want us to get into any delusions of grandeur that we have somehow arrived.

“We are on the first part of a journey and we can’t, in any way, take our foot off the pedal.

“If anything, I am looking for us to progress from where we are.

“I am always going to want more from the players, that’s just the nature of the beast, that’s the way I am as a person. If the players want to stand still and admire what they think we have done then, again, changes will be made.

“We haven’t achieved anything yet and I want us to continue to show the same application, hunger and desire.

“I can see that people are probably giving us more respect than they did before but I want us to be in a position where we are improving on all fronts and I want us to approach the next game in the right way."