RUGBY TOWN: Bedworth visitors on FA Cup trail

Robbie Banks
Robbie Banks

Rugby Town’s attention shifts back to the F.A.Cup this weekend, after they returned to winning ways in the league on Tuesday evening.

Their 1-0 victory at Barton lifted them back up into ninth place in the Evostik Southern League – Central Division, after they had fallen to a 3-0 home defeat to early pacesetters Godalming at the weekend.

Bedworth United are the visitors to Butlin Road this Saturday for the First Qualifying Round of the nation’s favourite cup competition, with Valley manager Dave Stringer pleased with the character his side showed ahead of the big local derby.

He said: “I thought we worked very hard at Barton, and we were the better side and ultimately got what we deserved.

“As a team, we have got a number of new players this season and it can take a few games for them to bed in, but generally I have been more than happy with our performances.

“Individual errors have cost us dearly though, so it was good to see them pretty much eliminated and for us to keep our first clean sheet.”

Rugby qualified for this stage of the cup after a 4-1 success at Studley in the Preliminary Round, and Stringer is looking forward to the tie.

He continued: “It’s a big game for the players and a big game for the fans too. There should be a lot of familiar faces in their side, which will add to the intensity and if we can show the character that we did on Tuesday, we have every chance of progressing to the next round.

“We have a few little niggles and knocks, but everyone should be available for selection.

“Bedworth are coming into the game on the back of four straight defeats, so perhaps their confidence will be dented a little. But we know from last season’s encounters that they are a strong unit, so we know we are in for a tough game.”

The Greenbacks were promoted to the Southern League Premier at the end of the 2011/12 season via the play-offs, meaning a return to that level for the first time in sixteen years.

Their player pool contains a number of ex-Town men, including three from Stringer’s squad from last season – Melvin Gourlay, Richard Wesley and Luke Keen.

United summer signing David Kolodynski bagged more than 50 goals in a Valley shirt in four years at the club, and Chris Tullin made 120 starts for Rugby in two spells at Butlin Road. Ashley Robinson also featured briefly in 2008.

However they have struggled since another ex-Valley man Steve Farmer led them back to the Premier Division though, with only an opening day victory over a Bideford side that ended the game with nine men and a draw to show from their first six matches.

A solitary Nik Preston strike gave Town the points in the league fixture between the two sides at Butlin Road last season, with Warren Alexander achieving the same feat the campaign previous to that.

Stringer completed the signing of centre half Mason Rowley at the weekend, and the young defender made his debut in the Barton victory.

Stringer said: “Mason should be a good acquisition for us. He started more than forty games in the Southern Premier last season, he’s big and strong, and I think he did well for us on Tuesday.”

Rowley was at Barwell last season, also starting their first two games of 2012-13. Prior to signing for Barwell, he was part of the youth team set-up at Notts County.

The Bedworth game is the first of four scheduled consecutive home fixtures for Town.

After a blank weekend on the 15th of September, Rugby then host Nuneaton in the first round of the Birmingham Senior Cup on Tuesday the 18th, with Thatcham due at Butlin Road in the league on the 22nd and Stafford in the F.A.Trophy on the 29th.