This is where the hard work starts, says Poppies box Cox

Paul Cox was satisfied with a fine start to his reign as manager of Kettering Town but then declared: “this is where the hard work starts.”

Sunday, 3rd November 2019, 8:43 am
Paul Cox applauds the Kettering Town fans after his reign as the club's manager started with a 4-0 victory over Bradford (Park Avenue). Pictures by Peter Short

The new Poppies boss watched on as his team picked up an encouraging 4-0 victory over fellow strugglers Bradford (Park Avenue) - a result which lifted them out of the relegation zone in the Vanarama National League North.

Lindon Meikle’s opener was added to in the second half by goals from man-of-the-match Connor Kennedy, Ben Milnes and Aaron O’Connor, from the penalty spot.

And while Cox, who was joined on the sidelines by returning assistant-manager John Ramshaw and coach Ben Marvin both of whom have worked with him for long periods in the past, was pleased with what he saw, he insists there is no chance of anyone getting carried away.

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Ben Milnes heads off to celebrate after scoring a fine free-kick

He confirmed he is hopeful of strengthening the squad this week in the build-up to a tough trip to take on his former club Guiseley but he conceded the victory will have given the players, and everyone else at the club, as “psychological boost”.

“I am delighted, obviously, with winning the game on a really unplayable surface to be honest,” the new Kettering manager said.

“We have only had two sessions with the lads and I am proud of the way they have taken things from that time.

“We have tried to implement a bit of organisation and a bit of structure and they have taken it on board.

Ben Milnes' free-kick finds the bottom corner to make it 3-0

“I think there is still loads more to do. I was picky in the dressing-room about the goal the build-up to the goal that was disallowed for Bradford.

“But, in the early stages, I have got to be pleased with the way the players have responded. Some of the build-up to our forward play, particularly in the second half, was excellent.

“You could hear the reaction in the dressing-room and I would guess it’s the first time it’s been like that in there this season. Psychologically, it’s a massive boost for the players to score that amount of goals and keep a clean sheet.

“The dressing-room looks after itself. I wanted the guys to take ownership because we do have some good players and we have some who are still learning the game.

Connor Kennedy heads home the Poppies' second goal

“I learned loads about them and I know now where we can get stronger and better.

“Psychologically, when you win a match after only winning two all season then it will lift people.

“We aren’t getting carried away but it is a boost for the players, for the supporters and everyone else at the club.

“I told the players to enjoy it but I also told them to come into work on Tuesday night and be prepared to work hard and concentrate so we can build up to what is going to be a really tough game at Guiseley next weekend.

“This is where the hard work starts and I want more.

“It’s one game ticked off and I will be working hard now for the rest of the week to try to strengthen us. We have won a game and now is the best time to strengthen what we have got.

“I think the hard work starts now. This was a learning curve for me but the real tests are in the future.

“We have won a football match but I am still not happy. It’s all about consistency. If we are talking in 10 or 15 games time and we are getting results consistently then I will start smiling a little bit.”

Cox, meanwhile, paid tribute to the fans and the volunteers who worked for a number of hours in the morning to ensure the game went ahead.

The club issued a call to arms for people to come and help fork the pitch after the heavy rainfall yesterday morning and, although the pitch cut up badly, the match was able to be completed.

“I came to this club knowing some of the people around it and knowing the history,” Cox added.

“I know the supporters are passionate and want the club to do well and I know that if we get this place rocking, then people will come in their droves.

“I am part of the history of the club myself, so I know all these things.

“The fans came out, they were vocal, they supported the boys and I know they are working hard behind the scenes as well.

“To come up here and see so many working as hard as they could to get the game on was fantastic.

“But that’s what I want to be part of. I want to be part of that team and make sure that we make this club grow and make sure we can look back and talk about how good this journey was."