Poppies boss Cox demands 'total focus' for tricky cup clash

Kettering Town head to Spalding United in the Emirates FA Cup tomorrow (Saturday)

Friday, 17th September 2021, 7:30 am
Paul Cox is wary of the threat of Spalding United as Kettering Town get ready to begin their FA Cup campaign. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox knows “it’s no time to take the foot off the pedal” as Kettering Town turn their attention to the Emirates FA Cup this weekend.

It’s been an encouraging start to the Vanarama National League North campaign for Cox’s new-look team as last weekend’s 2-0 win at Guiseley, courtesy of goals from Decarrey Sheriff and Callum Powell, made it four games without defeat to leave them sitting in seventh place after six games.

But Kettering face a different type of challenge tomorrow (Saturday) as they make the short trip up to Lincolnshire to take on Spalding United in the second qualifying round.

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The Tulips play two levels below the Poppies in the Northern Premier League Midlands division.

Despite being happy with what his team have done so far, Cox knows Spalding will be sniffing an upset this weekend.

And he knows Kettering will have to match their hosts in every department if they are to secure a place in Monday’s third qualifying round draw.

“I can guarantee you that there will be some scalps taken on Saturday,” the Poppies boss said.

“There will be some clubs who feel as though they should be in the next round and won’t be because they have taken their foot off the pedal or underestimated the fixture and their opponents.

“I have been in that position with teams at Step 5 where we had some giant-killings and beat teams from the National League.

“When you are at this stage of the FA Cup, you are going to come up against teams who are full of adrenaline and energy and we have to match that.

“Our desire has to match Spalding’s on Saturday, we have to earn the right and come 4.45pm if we haven’t done that then we will be out.

“The good thing about this group though is that they seem to be understanding those concepts now.

“We had a chat before the Guiseley game where I said that it was okay to play really well against the Fyldes of this world but what sets you up as a good unit and team is when you produce it week in, week out.

“It could have been a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ last weekend but it wasn’t.

“I am just hoping that everyone is as focused for this game. It’s the best cup competition in the world. You can only imagine what it would be like to get all the way to the third round.

“To do that, we have to earn the right and we will have to work harder than ever on Saturday.

“It’s no time to take the foot off the pedal. We need total concentration and total focus on what will be a tough game for us.”

Cox will be checking up on the fitness of striker Isaac Stones who missed the win at Guiseley due to a muscle injury while Rhys Davies, Rhys Sharpe, Chris Smith and Gary Stohrer were also ruled out last weekend due to knocks.

The Poppies Supporters Coach will be travelling to Spalding on Saturday.

The coach will leave Latimer Park at 12.30pm and anyone who would like to book a seat should call Brian on 07910 793276.