RUGBY TOWN: First chance of silverware against Kettering

Goalkeeper Louis Connor
Goalkeeper Louis Connor

Valley face manager Jepson’s old club for Newlands Shield

Rugby Town’s pre-season schedule continues with two more games over the coming week, and with them there is an early chance of some silverware for new Valley boss James Jepson.

Jepson’s new charges will line-up against one of his old clubs Kettering Town in a double-headed affair for the Newlands Shield, with the away leg at Latimer Park this Saturday and the return fixture next Tuesday (August 2).

The shield winner will be determined on a straight aggregate score, and if tied there will be a penalty shoot-out at Butlin Road to settle matters.

The two clubs last met each other in the 2014/15 season, when Rugby completed the double over Poppies teams which featured not only Jepson, but other current Valley men Jason Lee, David Kolodynski and Andy Gooding – but despite the defeats the quartet all ultimately tasted Southern League Premier Division title winning success that year. Town followed up on the weekend 2-1 defeat against Midland Football League Shepshed on their own astroturf pitch, with another loss on the same surface type at Sutton Coldfield on Tuesday evening, when they went down 4-1 to the hosts.

Tom Ryan had given a mainly trialling Rugby line-up the lead last Saturday, only for late goals from Samuel Moore and Michael Reece to earn Dynamo the win in sweltering conditions.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the NPL Premier Division side emphasised their class and clinical nature when Luke Rogers’ added a second half hat-trick to Ashley Vincent’s opening period strike, with Town’s consolation coming from triallist Lavell White – who lists Matlock and Gresley amongst his previous clubs.

Jepson has confirmed two more signings over the past week, with keeper Louis Connor completing league registration forms after impressing on his return to club colours in the recent friendly against Coventry City in addition to the arrival of the highly-rated Jamie Tank.

Twenty-two year old Tank is a centre-back who made over 60 appearances for Leamington in the Conference North and Southern League Premier over the last two seasons, having moved there from Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2014 – with the appeal of a locally located team as well as the significant reduction in match-day travelling helping to lure the East Haddon-based player to Butlin Road.

Tank started his first Rugby game at Coles Lane on Tuesday, whilst there was also a first Town outing there for ex-Derby County academy prospect Jorna Moulton, after the full-back had been unavailable for the previous warm-up fixtures.

However ex-Coalville forward Jake Woolley continues to struggle with an ankle problem, whilst another summer striker signing Alando Lewis looks likely to miss most of the season after picking up a knee injury in training.

# The home game against Kettering on Tuesday evening will kick-off at 7.45pm, with admission at £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.

# Jepson has now completed his backroom staff with the appointment of physio Jordan Taylor.