Trialists will play a part before Cox's Poppies squad takes shape
Paul Cox believes trialists will continue to play a big role in the early stages of pre-season.
But the Kettering Town manager knows the time is coming for when his squad for the new National League North campaign will have to take shape.
The Poppies are very much in the infancy of pre-season as they gear up to the next campaign, which is due to begin on October 3.
The club fulfilled three pre-season matches in one day last weekend with two 60-minute outings against League One outfit Peterborough United, which resulted in an 8-0 loss over both games, before a young Poppies XI picked up a 4-3 victory at Peterborough Northern Star in which summer signing Lorne Bickley scored twice.
Kettering have another friendly outing at Eastwood CFC on Saturday and while the overall result against Posh didn’t look too good on the eye, Cox insisted the whole weekend was a success.
“When the fixture came up quite late, all the permutations of taking it popped up into my head because we were only on the back of three or four training sessions whereas Peterborough had already played a couple of games,” the Poppies boss said.
“But the whole day, for me, was a success. We could have gone somewhere a few levels below us and won handsomely but you don’t always learn about your trialists or your new players and how they react when they are under stress.
“So I thought the day was a success because I learned about the players I have signed and it also becomes quite easy to make decisions on those you have on trial.
“No-one likes losing and I’d never celebrate that. We got something out of the exercise.
“Our fitness levels were very good when up against a club who, on another day, could be playing in the Championship next season.
“I learned so much from the day and it was tough because the small nucleus of players we have signed on were spread over the three games.
“I certainly don’t get despondent or too down when I have learned about a situation.
“There will always be trialists in pre-season and, because of the number of players who are unemployed, there could be trialists with us into early September.
“But the main thing for me after Saturday and everything I learned is making sure we trim everything back to get the squad gelling.
“We still have a few we want to look at this weekend in terms of trialists but we will certainly see this squad taking shape very soon.
“My whole process about pre-season is making sure we are where we want to be in terms of personnel, fitness and match organisation come October 3.”