Selection headache is a 'lovely problem' for Poppies boss Cox

Kettering Town are set to have three key players available again for their clash at Gateshead on Saturday

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:02 am
Connor Kennedy is available again after suspension for Kettering Town's trip to Gateshead this weekend. Picture by Peter Short
Connor Kennedy is available again after suspension for Kettering Town's trip to Gateshead this weekend. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox expects to have three key players available again this weekend, presenting him with what he described as a “lovely problem”.

Kettering Town kicked off the new Vanarama National League North season with a 1-0 victory over Bradford (Park Avenue) at Latimer Park last weekend.

The Poppies head to Gateshead on Saturday and boss Cox is set to have an early selection headache to deal with.

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Connor Kennedy, who is set to captain the club this season, and Connor Johnson are both available again after suspension while summer signing Chris Smith is also set to be declared fit after missing the opening game due to injury.

“I don’t make a big issue of things like that if I can help it but we got through a game last weekend without three good players,” Kettering manager Cox said.

“Chris Smith has probably been our most consistent performer in pre-season and played 30 games in the National League last season, Connor Johnson was previously with Wolves and Connor Kennedy, along with Gary Stohrer, has probably been the most consistent player since I came to the club.

“If you take those three out of any side at this level then you are going to feel it.

“Both Connors are definitely back from suspension and we will have a look at where Smithy is.

“It was my decision to leave him out at the weekend because he still wasn’t feeling 100 per cent with his injury. We need him long-term but, fingers crossed, he should be returning to the squad as well.

“Having them back is what you would probably call a lovely problem.

“This is probably the first time I have had the chance to balance things out with the squad.

“The depth is going to be so important to how well we do, particularly around Christmas time when you get injuries and suspensions.

“But it also tells players that if you aren’t doing your job right then you know someone will be busting a gut to take their place.

“It’s going to be an interesting problem for me ahead of Saturday because there are three very good players who will be right back in contention.”