RUGBY TOWN: Two crucial home games over Easter

Fazel Koriya on a run against North Greenford  PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY
Fazel Koriya on a run against North Greenford PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY

Northwood tomorrow and Kettering Town on Monday

The Easter holiday weekend is likely to prove pivotal for Rugby Town’s prospects of a return to the Premier Division of the Southern League, after another unconvincing display and more dropped points at North Greenford last Saturday.

Richard Blythe

Richard Blythe

Just as most of their play-off rivals appear to have hit form, Valley suffered a miserable March - recording just one victory from their five games in the month.

Boss Dave Stringer will now be hoping home advantage can be made to count over the coming few days, with Town first hosting mid-table Northwood on Saturday, before welcoming champions elect Kettering to Butlin Road on Easter Monday.

Rugby’s 1-1 draw at Greenford coupled with Barton’s 1-0 success against Aylesbury ensured they are now two points adrift of the play-off zone - with back-to-back wins for seventh placed Hanwell over the past week also creating further pressure below Stringer’s outfit.

Saturday’s visitors Northwood are currently tenth in the Central Division table, and come into the game on the back of a controversial last outing - which saw their home fixture against Bedworth abandoned near the hour mark.

Richard Gregory equalised at North Greenford

Richard Gregory equalised at North Greenford

Monday’s clash sees a return to Butlin Road for Rugby’s leading goalscorer in senior football David Kolodynski. The striker left the club for the Poppies in October after a particularly prolific second spell at Valley.

Having struggled to find the same rich vein of scoring form at his new club with just five goals in his first seventeen appearances for Kettering, Kolodynski now has registered three in the last four and will no doubt be looking to get one against his hometown club too.

However central defenders Mason Rowley and Alex Gudger handled their old team mate well in the reverse game at Latimer Park on New Year’s Day in a 1-0 Town victory, and Gudger will be hoping his ankle has recovered sufficiently to take up the challenge again alongside Rowley - after the Valley skipper missed a fourth game on a row last weekend.

Midfielder Sam Youngs should also be available again for the Easter schedule, with a bumper crowd expected for the Kettering fixture on Monday.

The corresponding game last season saw the visitors snatch a point at the death in front of 773 people at Butlin Road, and then 872 turned up for Rugby’s success at the year’s start - and with the Northamptonshire club now within touching distance of automatic promotion thanks to a twelve point lead at the top, a large travelling contingent is expected.

Town’s form at Easter over recent years has been impressive though, with seven victories in the eight equivalent games in the four previous seasons.