Positive shift in mentality is behind Poppies' upturn in fortunes

Kettering Town continued their run of good form under Paul Cox with a well-deserved 1-0 win over play-off chasing Farsley Celtic at Latimer Park on Saturday.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 10:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 10:59 am
Paul Cox has led Kettering Town on an impressive run of form in the Vanarama National League North. Picture by Alison Bagley

The Poppies have put in a series of impressive performances since Cox took over in late October, managing to compete with teams much better off according to the Vanarama National League North table, despite the fact that largely the same group struggled early on in the season.

The club’s current situation seems a far-cry from the beginning of the season when their struggles eventually resulted in Nicky Eaden being sacked.

And Cox believes the Poppies’ upturn in fortunes is as a result of a positive shift in mentality, as well as hard work.

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He said: “Wherever I manage, I talk about morals, ethics and standards.

“I like to work with individuals, and we’ve laid down foundations for the psychology of the game and how to make an unconfident player confident.

“We’ve worked on structure, organisation, discipline and fitness - the basics - and players have got to buy into it.

“I like to be totally honest with players, and if they’ve done something brilliant, I wrap my arms around them and give them a cuddle, and if they don’t, I tell them where they’re going wrong.

“There’s no grey area at the club now in terms of the playing side - the players have an understanding, they know what’s expected of them, and they know they’ve got to work hard.

“Consistency is key, and the players have responded to all these ingredients my staff and I have tried to instil in them.

“We took on a group of players who were losing consistently, whether due to a lack of fitness or organisation, and they’ve got to keep responding between now and the end of the season.

“There aren’t any givens, as football doesn’t respect anybody, and we work really hard on looking at the opposition, making tactical observations and getting that over to the players.

“All of this has culminated in the professionalism that we want to take this club forward with.

“There have been lots of one per cents that we’ve improved on and lots that we can still improve on, because we’re not the finished product yet, by far.”