Home league game on Saturday as Holbeach visit Butlin Road
Rugby Town’s reward for their solid FA Cup Preliminary Round victory over Evesham is a trip to Redditch United in the First Qualifying Round of the competition a week Saturday (8th).
Having dispatched a team a level higher than themselves at Butlin Road last weekend thanks to Richard Blythe’s second half strike, Valley must now face off against a side two rungs above them in the non-league ladder - with Redditch currently plying their trade in the Southern League Premier Central Division.
The two clubs have played each other 31 times in competitive fixtures over the past 35 years, but their most recent encounter came recently in pre-season when a close friendly match was decided in United’s favour by a late winner from ex-Rugby striker Luke Keen.
Town return to league action this Saturday, when Holbeach are the visitors for what represents a third consecutive weekend home game for Carl Adams’s ever-impressing line-up.
The 1-0 Evesham cup success came a week on from the 5-2 Butlin Road drubbing of Boston Town in the UCL Premier Division - which gave Rugby a record of two wins and a loss from their first three league outings.
Saturday’s South Lincolnshire opponents have the same record from their initial trio - with the 3-1 opening defeat at current division toppers Daventry representing their only UCL blemish to-date, although - unlike Rugby - they have failed to progress in the FA Cup, having lost out to Deeping in the Extra Preliminary stage.
The unavailable Lee Thomas and the injured Stefan Blake both missed out on the Evesham win, with both expected to be back in contention for a place in this weekend’s squad.
Young striker Sam Lockley - who made such an impressive impact after he signed for the club in the second half of last season - made a first competitive appearance from the bench on Saturday, as he continued his comeback from an ankle fracture - meaning it is only Simeon Tulloch and Aiden Print that have yet to feature for Valley so far this season from Adams’s current roster.
Despite appearing in the warm-up game schedule, Tulloch continues to struggle for match fitness after a long lay-off following knee operations a year and a half ago, although the arrival from Stratford and subsequent emergence of Charlie Evans has considerably softened the blow of his absence.
Meanwhile local boy Print missed out on pre-season totally and is still some way from adding to his 67 appearances in a Town shirt over the preceding two campaigns.
After Saturday’s Butlin Road UCL game against Holbeach, Valley will then face three consecutive away knockout games, with the aforementioned Redditch FA Cup tie followed by a League Cup trip to Harborough Town on Tuesday, September 11 and an FA Vase Qualifying fixture at either Melton Town or Ingles four days later.
Rugby return to league action on September 18 with yet another away outing - this time at Oadby.