Recently appointed Rugby Town assistant boss Craig Herbert will be back in the dug-out for this Saturday’s final pre-season friendly at Loughborough Dynamo, and the ex-Valley defender is looking forward to the challenge of his new role at Butlin Road.
Herbert, who missed the last three warm-up games due to holiday, said: “It’s great to be back at the club and I can’t wait to get really stuck into it.
“Having left Rugby in 2009, I finished my career at Barwell and then had a small break from the game. However I’d been helping out at Coventry Copsewood recently and was really enjoying that, so when this opportunity to come back to the Valley came along I jumped at it.
“I’ve been back to the club a number of times over the past year or two, so I’ve seen the team play and know what they’re capable of and also hopefully where we can help them improve too.
“They’re a great bunch of lads and in training and in the pre-season games I’ve been involved with, things are looking good. Dave (Stringer) and I will be working on a few things ahead of the start of the league campaign, and hopefully we can give them the confidence to kick-on to get that top five spot that we’ve just missed out on over the last couple of seasons.”
36 year old Herbert featured in more than 300 games for the Valley during a ten season spell at the club – including two short stints in temporary charge of the side between permanent managers.
He continued: “I’m enjoying working with Dave. We played in the same team when I first came to the club in 2000, and obviously I know Danny (Hall) very well too from our time here and at Solihull.”
After a run of four warm-up games against higher level opposition, Saturday’s opponents Loughborough play at the same level as Town in the First Division South of the Northern League.
Rugby acquitted themselves well against Southern League Premier Banbury and Conference North teams Corby and Oxford City, before being outplayed in the second half by a strong Brackley side on Tuesday evening.
However, despite this defeat, optimism levels remain high around the club that Stringer has assembled a squad capable of making a real challenge at the top of the Southern League Central Division this season.
Valley’s league campaign kicks-off a week Saturday (18th August) with a trip to Ashford, closely followed by the opening home game on Tuesday (21st) against Biggleswade.