Poppies face the toughest of tests as York come to town

Paul Cox’s unbeaten record as manager of Kettering Town looks set for its sternest test so far this weekend as they get ready to take on York City at Latimer Park.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 7:58 am
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 7:58 am
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter Short

Cox has overseen a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions since being confirmed as the Poppies boss and it’s a run that has seen them move four points clear of the relegation zone in the Vanarama National League North as well as making progress in both the Buildbase FA Trophy and the NFA Hillier Senior Cup.

Kettering came through two away matches in the space of 48 hours with a threadbare squad as a 2-2 draw at Gloucester City last Saturday was followed by a goalless stalemate at fellow strugglers Curzon Ashton on Monday night.

And now Cox is preparing to rally his troops to take on a Minstermen team who sit in second place and are highly-fancied to push for the title.

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They are also a club Cox admits he is slightly envious of.

“York are a massive football club and they were still in the Football League three years ago,” Cox said.

“I look at them and I am envious because that’s where I want us to be.

“I want us to be challenging at the top of the table, in fact I want us to be challenging in the next division.

“I know I have to be patient but patience isn’t my greatest virtue unfortunately! You have to be greedy.

“We are going up against a fantastic club who have good players and a good manager but I want us to go and assert ourselves.

“And I want us to put ourselves in a position where we aren’t just pleased to be playing York but where we want to win.

“It’s going to be tough. We need to get a couple of players back because it’s been hard to get 14 or 15 out there in the last two matches.

“But the players are showing a great desire and the last two games have made me smile because the boys have put the shifts in and have shown that will to pick up points.”

The Poppies boosted their squad ahead of last weekend with the loan signing of left-back Matthew Taylor from Harrogate Town and he made an immediate impact by scoring the second goal in the draw at Gloucester.

Cox will have Marcus Kelly available again for this weekend after a two-match suspension but Ben Milnes remains a doubt due to an Achilles injury.

Joe Skarz is set to be on the sidelines for four to six weeks after undergoing surgery on a hernia while Javan Vidal is also still ruled out through injury.