RUGBY TOWN: Ready to welcome unbeaten Guildford

Tyrone Fagan
Tyrone Fagan

Manager Stringer buzzing after back-to-back wins

STRINGER BUZZING AFTER BACK-TO-BACK WINS

The 2012 Non League Day sees Rugby Town entertain Guildford City at Butlin Road this Saturday, with Dave Stringer’s side boosted by a return to league action over the last week which generated a maximum return from 2-1 and 2-0 victories against Beaconsfield and Woodford respectively.

Valley are likely to be in for a much tougher examination of their play-off credentials though against a City side that still boast a 100% record in the Evostik Southern League Central Division – with seven wins out of seven following their promotion from the Combined Counties League (CCL) at the end of last season.

Rugby’s six point haul has lifted them up in ninth place, with games in hand over most of the teams above them, and Stringer will be looking to maintain the momentum created in these last two impressive displays.

Stringer commented: “It’s been great to get back to league action after the run of tough cup fixtures, and we’re more than happy with the way things have gone – both in terms of the performances and the results.

“We made it harder than we should have done at the weekend by letting them back in it in the second half, but generally the lads showed good movement and good link-up play.

“Tuesday was the old cliché that it could have been ten-nil, but again the movement was fantastic and we were really eager to get forward and we caused them problems from the start.

“We know we should have taken more of our chances, but we’re looking forward to getting back out there on Saturday, and whilst Guildford are likely to be a tougher proposition – I’m confident that we will be fine, if we adopt the same attitude.”

Guildford currently sit in second place behind league leaders Godalming, who lost the only other perfect record after a midweek draw at home to Chertsey.

The club were resurrected in 1996, after the original Guildford FC had folded in 1974 – and their promotion back to the Southern League structure came after consecutive CCL Premier Division title successes.

Town have been boosted by the return to the club of David Kolodynski and Sam Youngs. Although this week has seen the departure of captain Ross Miller to Halesowen plus the release of Tyrone Fagan and Richie Allen.

Miller was arguably Valley’s best player in the second half of last season in a central defensive role, but despite getting Stringer’s nod as skipper this year, he had slipped behind Ed Booth, Mason Rowley and Alex Gudger in that position and has subsequently rejoined his old manager John Hill – who is now in charge at the Yeltz.

Stringer explained: “We have parted with Ross under good terms, but he accepts that there are a couple of young centre halves that have impressed and we should develop further. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ross returns to the club in some capacity in the future though, as I have a lot of time for him and his abilities.

“Likewise Tyrone leaves under good terms. He has been a great clubman in his time here, but he wants to play regular football, and we can’t guarantee him that at the moment.”

Stringer has plenty of other options for the weekend clash though, with midfielder Richard Blythe available again after once more missing a midweek match and Michael Williams nearing full fitness.

Stringer continued: “We have a few knocks and niggles after Tuesday evening. Craig Kelly has a bad one on his shin, and Fazel Koriya went off with a bruised ankle, but hopefully they will both be available for selection.

“There are also a few players that are lacking a bit of match fitness for various reasons, and they will only get better with games under the belts over the coming weeks.”

There is another fixture at Butlin Road next Tuesday, with Leamington the visitors in the first round of the Red Insure sponsored Southern League Cup.

The Brakes have had a good start in the Premier Division of the league, and remain unbeaten in fourth place after eight games.

Rugby have lost all three games against their neighbours since their return to the Southern League, with Leamington doing the double over them in 2009/10 and then knocking Town out of the League Cup the following season.

# This weekend’s Non League Day gives football supporters the chance to savour the grass roots game in the absence of any Premier and Championship fixtures. The club are offering discounted entry to any regular supporters of professional clubs, admitting anyone producing their season ticket at the turnstile for just £5 (£2 for concessions).

# Town’s home game against Burnham on Saturday November 3rd has been brought forward to a 12 midday kick-off to accommodate the firework display being held on the Whinfield Recreation Ground later that day.