Just three weeks away from the start of the season, Rugby Town manager Dave Stringer is pleased with the way his squad have been preparing for the upcoming Southern League campaign.
After a 2-0 away friendly win at Coventry Sphinx on Tuesday evening, Stringer confirmed everyone was focused on the task of achieving that elusive promotion to the Premier Division of the league at the fifth attempt.
He said: “It’s great to be back in the swing of things.
“The lads have worked hard in training over the past few weeks and after a couple of low key games on the astroturf against the youth team and Alvis, it was good to get more of a test at Sphinx.
“We pretty much dominated throughout, and probably could have scored more goals.
“But the fitness levels are looking good and we’ve a couple more players to come in to boost the squad.
“Hopefully we will be ready and raring to go come the first league fixture on August 9.”
A double strike from David Kolodynski gave a virtually full-strength Valley the win at the Midland Football League Premier side with two well-executed first half finishes – the first a shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area and the second a close range strike to Craig Kelly’s cross from the left.
Seb Lake-Gaskin struck the post after the interval, although the hosts did threaten at times in the second period with new keeper Joe Mellings needing to be on his guard to preserve a clean sheet.
Stringer’s management team has been boosted by the permanent return of Craig Herbert as his assistant, after the Rugby stalwart had stood down for the bulk of last season.
Stringer added: “It’s great to have Herbs back in the fold, as we work really well together.
“He is Valley through and through, and I could not ask for someone with higher levels of integrity, honesty and support to work alongside me.”
Herbert made more than 300 appearances in 10 seasons at the club – including two short spells as player/caretaker-manager, before taking up the role as Stringer’s assistant in 2012.
However he left after a year, only to reappear in the same position towards the end of last season in a temporary capacity.
Next up on the warm-up schedule for Town is the visit to Butlin Road of Conference North side Tamworth this Saturday with another home friendly seven days later against Brackley.
Tamworth are managed by one-time Valley keeper Dale Belford – who is assisted by another Rugby old-boy Steve Farmer.
They were relegated from the Conference Premier at the end of 2013/14 after their 23rd-place finish.
An additional warm-up match has been added for Tuesday night with Lutterworth the opponents on the Butlin Road astroturf, with Valley set to round of their preparations for the main season with a trip to AFC Rushden & Diamonds on August 2.
The fixtures for the new Southern League Central Division campaign are scheduled to be released today.
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