Valley at home to Spalding hoping to make it three wins in a row
Despite recording back-to-back league wins for the first time this season last Saturday, Rugby Town manager Dale Belford was still trying to keep his and his side’s feet firmly on the ground.
He reflected: “We’re doing okay at the moment, but we’re not going to get carried away. When we took on the job, it was clear there was a lot of hard work to be done behind the scenes, as well as on the training and main pitches.
“Whilst we’ve come a long way since then, there is still room for improvement and we still need to strengthen in one or two key areas, but overall the signs are positive.”
Town come up against an in-form Spalding side this weekend at Butlin Road, with the Lincolnshire club sitting in fourth place in the NPL South Division after a run of four straight victories.
Valley’s three points from the eventful 4-3 success at Goole failed to lift them up from 19th, but now just three further points separate them from 12th place in the table’s congested lower half.
Belford continued: “My remit was to keep us in this league and everything else would be a bonus. The bottom two were in danger of being cast adrift, but we managed to close that gap and then move out of the relegation zone.
“We do have some tough games ahead, but if we can maintain the current form and still be within touching distance come January, then we can reassess the situation.”
The club’s season continues to be dogged by keeper problems though, with Saturday’s game at Goole seeing an eighth man take his place between the sticks – when 18 year old Aaron Dillon was drafted in from Witton to take up the role.
The Valley boss confirmed that this was only likely to have been a stop-gap solution though: “The search goes on to solve what has been a big issue for us all season. I have never known anything like it, as I have always built teams with a regular keeper as part of the spine of the team.
“It’s a real shame that Liam (Roberts) has had to return to Walsall, as I feel he did a great job for us during his loan spell. I guess we have been victims of our own success in that respect, as it sounds like he now goes back there challenging for a place in the first team squad.
The news is more positive with regards Town’s other two loanees Northampton’s Danny Clifton and Sam Warburton, although Belford highlighted that this would likely be the final extension of the arrangement which originally started in August.
He explained: “Northampton have been extremely supportive over the past few months, and the lads in question have also conducted themselves very well. Both Danny’s and Sam’s contracts are up in January, so I guess Northampton will have them back at the end of this spell before making a decision on their future.”
Rugby will be without the suspended Rob Parker against Spalding on Saturday, although Belford was hoping to have completed the signing of the defender/midfielder Matt Curley from Romulus in time for the fixture.