RUGBY TOWN: First Sky Blues visit in a decade

Miss Rugby Chloe Mann and Town captain Andy Gooding sporting Valleys new design shirt for the 2016/17 season
Miss Rugby Chloe Mann and Town captain Andy Gooding sporting Valleys new design shirt for the 2016/17 season

Miss Rugby and captain model new club shirts

Miss Rugby Chloe Mann and Town captain Andy Gooding sporting Valley’s new design shirt for the 2016/17 season - sponsored once more by Revolution Drivers. Chloe is competing at the Miss England competition in Southport on July 20-21. For details of how to vote for her, visit www.missengland.info Miss Rugby Chloe Mann and Town captain Andy Gooding sporting Valley’s new design shirt for the 2016/17 season - sponsored once more by Revolution Drivers. Chloe is competing at the Miss England competition in Southport on July 20-21. For details of how to vote for her, visit www.missengland.info

Rugby Town’s pre-season preparations continue with two more warm-up fixtures over the coming week – including a first visit to Butlin Road in ten years from a Coventry City line-up.

Valley’s first run-out on Tuesday ended all-square at UCL Premier Cogenhoe.

Louis Hamilton’s smart finish had given Town a first half lead from a dominant opening period performance, but manager James Jepson’s side tailed off a little after the break, with Ryan Ansell giving the hosts due reward for their efforts on the night with the equaliser.

Jepson was without a number of his prospective squad for the season including injured strikers Jake Woolley and Alando Lewis, and the unavailable David Kolodynski and Tom Ryan – the two remaining mainstays from the previous campaign.

There were places in his starting line-up though for the experienced duo Edi Appleton and Richard Lavery, with the former player having now signed league registration forms for the club for the second time.

Defender Appleton made one appearance for Valley last season, before the ex-Corby man quickly moved on, whilst 39 year-old Lavery – who can play in both midfield and defence – has been a major target of Jepson throughout the summer after a distinguished non-league playing career, which has included more than 300 games for Hinckley in the Conference.

Lavery has most recently been at NPL Premier Barwell, and another experienced Barwell man Scott Lower also made a substitute appearance for Town at Cogenhoe at right-back, in a second half defensive line which also included the trialling ex-Kettering and Daventry centre-half Jason Lee, who also seemed set to join Rugby at the same stage of last season.

Ex-Notts County academy keeper Monty Parks started in goal, but was then replaced between the sticks after the interval by George Woodward – who was on the books at Nuneaton Griff and Bedworth in 2015/16.

Before the visit of a Sky Blues XI on Tuesday, Valley must first travel to Midland League Premier Quorn at the weekend, with Jepson likely to continue the plan to look at a number of trailists ahead of confirming his squad nearer the end of the pre-season period.

The last Rugby-Coventry encounter at Butlin Road was back in August 2006, when a City side including new Town captain Andy Gooding ran out 2-0 winners.

The visitors have yet to confirm the make-up of their line-up, but with the club currently having no other friendly fixtures scheduled between the return of the first team squad from a training camp in Austria at the end of this week and next Saturday (23rd), it is hoped that there may be the opportunity for supporters to at least see some of Tony Mowbray’s fringe players in action.

Tuesday’s match kicks-off at 7.30pm and admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.

# The draws for the opening rounds of the main FA competitions have been made, with Rugby once more pitted against lower level opposition in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup.

Town will face a visit to Butlin Road by either Bromsgrove Sporting or Heath Hayes on Saturday 20th August for a place in the First Qualifying Round of the competition.

In the FA Trophy, Valley must travel to Bedworth in the Preliminary Round in October, with a home tie against St Neots up for grabs for the winners, whilst Town’s youth team FA Youth Cup adventure starts with a game at Ellesmere Rangers.