Poppies to get final minutes in the tank as pre-season draws to a close

Kettering Town will play two friendlies over the next 24 hours

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 3:58 pm
Chris Smith was on target in Kettering Town's 2-1 pre-season defeat at Brackley Town. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox will be looking to give every available member of his Kettering Town squad 90 minutes of action over the next two nights as they enter the final stages of pre-season.

The Poppies have the unexpected bonus of a home friendly tonight (Wednesday) after their proposed game at Biggleswade FC was switched to Latimer Park.

And Cox will then also take a squad to Grantham Town tomorrow night before the pre-season schedule concludes with a game at Worksop Town on Saturday.

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The Poppies boss reiterated his desire to further strengthen the squad ahead of the National League North curtain-raiser with Bradford (Park Avenue) at Latimer Park a week on Saturday.

But, over the next couple of days, the focus will be on getting more valuable minutes into his players.

“Everyone will get 90 minutes across these two midweek games, that’s the target for those matches,” the Kettering manager said.

“We are still talking to people, we are still waiting for a response from a few players.

“We do know that we are a very young squad at the minute and we need that bit of experience. If we get that then I think we will be very competitive, I really do.

“But the key for this week is to get 90 minutes into all the lads, then we will have the game at Worksop and then are off and running.”

The Poppies were beaten 2-1 at league rivals Brackley Town in the Newlands Shield at the weekend as the hosts fought back to win after summer signing Chris Smith had put Kettering in front.

However, having been forced to field a young side due to a number of absentees, Cox was more than happy with the performance his players served up.

“I was really pleased with the performance, mainly because of the age of the side that we had to put out because we had five, maybe six, missing for various reasons,” he said.

“Putting that to the side, I thought our performance levels were really good.

“We are so far ahead of where we were this year and that’s what we are focused on.

“You can look at results, and people will, but they don’t mean anything to me at the moment.

“It’s all about conditioning and getting a squad together that we hope will be competitive once the season begins.

“We lost the match but I have to see beyond that and I thought we were really good.

“If we had taken half the chances we created in the first half then we would have been in a commanding position.

“The way we moved the ball and the shape of the side was very good against a squad of players who are proven at the level.

“We did tire towards the end but it was really positive, we got 90 minutes into a lot of legs and I was pleased with the performance levels.”