Rugby Town travel to Goole
Rugby Town moved back out of the Evostik NPL South Division relegation zone following the weekend victory over Newcastle.
The 2-1 home success against the Staffordshire side ended Valley’s month long run in the bottom two, as they leapfrogged over both Loughborough and Carlton to occupy 19th spot in the table – their highest placing since the end of August.
Last Saturday’s win came thanks to goals from Callum Powell and Kevin Thornton as part of a particularly impressive opening hour’s display from Town, although manager Dale Belford will surely have been concerned by the way his team dipped for the final third of the game and will therefore be looking for a full performance when they finally face up to an away fixture this Saturday at Goole.
The Goole match-up will represent the club’s longest road trip of the campaign, with a near 220 mile round journey door-to-door, although it does come after a stretch of five successive home games for Rugby.
Valley have faced the East Yorkshire club once previously in their history back in November 1990, when a Mark Boyland hat-trick and a further strike from Robert Smith secured them a 4-0 Premier Inter League Challenge Cup victory at Butlin Road – a knockout competition played at the time between the highest leagues in non-league football.
The current day Goole side sit in 14th place in the table – six points ahead of Town, and the Vikings come into the game on the back of a 3-2 home defeat to Romulus last weekend.
After their two place jump last weekend, Rugby now have three further clubs – Belper, Kidsgrove and Chasetown – within just three points of their total, as Belford looks to maintain the improvement in league form in his tenth NPL game in charge at the club.
After a shaky start which saw defeats for the new management team at both Stocksbridge and Market Drayton, Belford’s side have gone on to lose just twice more in their next seven league outings, and the Valley manager appears to remain confident that he can continue this steady climb up the table.
However he will be concerned that he can keep hold of Walsall goalie Liam Roberts, as the keeper nears the end of his loan period at Butlin Road. Roberts turns 21 years old next week, and therefore would be no longer eligible for a youth loan arrangement – meaning a more restrictive agreement would need to be negotiated.
Belford – an ex-keeper himself – has been impressed by the impact and performance of the Saddlers’ youngster and is keen to hold on to both him and Northampton Town loanees Sam Warburton and Danny Clifton, who are due to play the final match of their current spell at Goole.
# The club coach to Goole will leave Butlin Road at 10.30am. For further information contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.