Valley host Norton United at Butlin Road
Rugby Town boss Dave Stringer was hurting after his side’s performance in the 5-0 thrashing in Monday’s local derby at Daventry, writes Jon Venner.
He said: “It was totally unacceptable, and I apologise to all our supporters that paid to witness it. The goals we conceded were terrible, and at times it was shambolic out there.
“The players have been told in no uncertain terms after the game that it can’t be allowed to happen again.
“However, it’s my team and my formation too, so ultimately I take full responsibility. I can assure everybody that I take it personally and it hurts me the most.”
It was Valley’s fourth straight defeat at Communications Park since they dropped down into the Central Division of the Southern League in 2010, and represented their heaviest overall defeat within that time too.
It also ended the club’s unbeaten start to the new league campaign.
Stringer continued: “I had been reasonably pleased with how things had gone before Monday.
“We did a professional job at Aylesbury on the opening day, and then followed this up with an excellent win against Potters Bar – despite missing key players.
“Even last Saturday, aside from the final score of course, I was relatively happy as we created a lot of chances that would have seen us win on most occasions.
“I have faith that we will bounce back from Monday’s disappointment though. We’ve had lots of highs over the past year, but this was a real kick-up the backside and we will have to draw a line under it quickly.”
Next-up for Rugby is the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, which sees them host Norton United at Butlin Road this Saturday.
Norton play one level below Town in the North West Counties League Premier Division, and earned their place in this round following a 7-1 Extra Preliminary victory over Southam.
The Stoke-based side finished 14th in their league last time out, but have had a good start to the 2013/14 season – with four wins and a draw from their opening six matches seeing them currently placed fifth.
Valley are then due to travel to Southern League new-boys St.Ives next Tuesday, although this is dependent upon both Rugby and the Cambridgeshire side’s cup results this weekend – with any replay taking precedence.
Stringer should have a full-strength squad to select from, with Sam Youngs and Richard Blythe back from holiday and illness respectively, and David Kolodynski hoping to be fit again after the hamstring injury that saw him miss the Daventry defeat.
** A Town win on Saturday will see them travel to Northern Premier League side Nantwich in the First Qualifying Round of the competition on September 14.
** There are still places available for children aged 12 and under to take part as mascots at Town’s special Non League Day event for the home game against Slough next Saturday (September 7). For further details check the club website or contact Tom Crinigan on 07865 094814.
** Town have been drawn to face Redditch at home in the first round of the Birmingham Senior Cup. Ties must be played by October 30.
** The club coach to St.Ives will leave Butlin Road at 5pm. For latest availability, contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.
PICTURE BY MARTIN PULLEY