RUGBY TOWN: Boxing Day date with Bedworth

Will Grocott in last week's game at Aylesbury (picture by Martin Pulley)
Will Grocott in last week's game at Aylesbury (picture by Martin Pulley)

Manager Stringer confident despite injury list

Rugby Town boss Dave Stringer was still in a reasonably confident mood ahead of the Butlin Road Boxing Day derby against Bedworth - despite the mounting injury crisis he faces and in the wake of a 2-0 defeat at fellow play-off chasing Aylesbury.

Reflecting on the weekend’s reverse, he said: “It was disappointing on Saturday, as we let ourselves get bullied by the opposition. We did okay for the first fifteen-twenty minutes, but once more we were too gung-ho and failed to do the simple things right when we didn’t have possession.

“I still firmly believe that with the ball we are the best team in this division, but we keep making the same mistakes when we haven’t got it and that’s something we really have to work on if we have any aspirations of getting promoted this season.”

He continued: “Having said that and even with the horrendous injury situation that we are experiencing at the moment, I am still quietly confident that we can get something from this Friday’s game.

“We know a lot about Bedworth and have played them twice already this season, and whilst it will undoubtedly be a tough game for us, we still have enough in this squad of players to get a positive result from it.”

However Stringer’s line-up for the festive match-up against the side currently in second place in the table is far from clear in his mind, as the list of injuries continues to lengthen.

Alex Austin broke a wrist in training last week and therefore joined Lewis Rankin (hamstring) on the definitely out front, whilst Stringer rates both Alex Gudger and Ben George as doubtful for the visit of Town’s local rivals.

Gudger is carrying an ankle ligament problem, and although he started the Aylesbury game, he then limped out of it before the end, whilst George was missing on Saturday after he picked up a calf injury the previous week.

Mitchell Piggon started at Aylesbury after a four week absence, and Seb Lake-Gaskin made a second appearance from the bench, although Stringer confirmed that both were still not fully fit.

He added: “We had little choice but to start with Mitchell, but his hamstring went tight before the end, so we will have to see how he is at training this week. Seb’s getting there, but he’s not yet 100%.”

On the positive side, Lewis McBride is available for the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day (at Kettering) matches, with Kyle Bishop also due back with the squad after missing the last five fixtures following a nose operation.

Stringer concluded: “Ideally we would like to get a couple of new faces in before Boxing Day, but it’s a very difficult time of the year to sign players.”

# The Greenbacks come to Butlin Road on the back of a run of eight straight league victories, which has given them a two point advantage over third place Aylesbury – with Valley a further nine points adrift in sixth.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Oval back in August, and this was followed by a 3-1 Town victory there in the first round of the League Cup seven weeks later.

# The Boxing Day local derby will kick-off at 3 p.m., with admission at £8 for adults, £4 for concessions and just £1 for under 16’s.

# Town then travel to league leaders Kettering on New Year’s Day, before hosting Egham on Saturday 3rd January 2015. The coach to Kettering will leave the clubhouse at 12.15 p.m. For latest information on this, contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.