PREVIEW | Poppies Trip

Southport will be looking for their first win of the Vanarama National League North season when they head to Kettering on Saturday.

After a victory in the Emirates FA Cup over Morpeth Town, Liam Watson’s side drew 0-0 with Hereford at The Pure Stadium in their opening league game.

Chances did come with way of The Port, as they the cross bar twice, whilst Dan Hanford also needed to make two top saves to stop The Bulls from scoring.


Saturday’s opponents, Kettering, started their season off last weekend with a cup tie against Chelmsford City, coming away 2-0 winners with goals from Lorne Bickley and Decarrey Sheriff.

The Poppies did not have the same success in their opening league game as they lost 3-1 against Gloucester City, with a late Connor Kennedy consolation not troubling the outcome.

Following a 19th placed finish last season, there is plenty room for improvement, and will be looking to break a winless streak in the competition that dates back to January.

The man in charge:

Experienced coach, Paul Cox, took over the top job at Latimer Park last October, with the club rooted to the bottom of the league.

Before heading into management, the former defender played 125 times for The Poppies.

The 48-year-old’s first job as a head coach was with Eastwood Town, where he spent six years, winning promotion to the Vanarama National League North in 2009.

Following that he joined Mansfield Town, where in 2013 he guided them to promotion to League Two.

He also been at the helm of Torquay United, Barrow and Guiseley, making him well equipped at this level.

Key Player:

The man between the sticks for Kettering, Adam Collin, could be difficult to beat on Saturday.

With stints at clubs including Rotherham, Notts County and most recently Carlisle, he joins the Poppies after a long period in the Football League.

Previous Meeting:

In the only meeting between the two sides last season, it was honours even as it finished 1-1.

Mike McGrath scored at both ends, as he gifted Southport the lead with an own goal, before making amends by levelling the scores seven minutes later.

Final Thoughts:

After getting a point on the board in their opening game of the season, The Sandgrounders will want their first win.

With Kettering’s poor end to last season, and defeat to begin this one, it could be a great opportunity for The Port to get three points.

Written by Amos Wynn

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