Valley unbeaten in opening week of league campaign
Having kicked-off their new MFL Premier campaign with a win and a draw over the past week, Rugby Town return to FA Cup action this weekend when higher level opponents Romulus come to Butlin Road for a Preliminary Round tie.
Town followed up on their 2-1 weekend victory at one of the division’s pre-season favourites Sporting Khalsa with a 1-1 draw at home to Long Eaton on Tuesday evening, securing them joint fifth position in the early league table in the process.
At the time of going to press, the four teams above them – Worcester, Coventry United, Westfields and Coleshill – are the only ones to have recorded back-to-back wins, with Worcester making the best start of all after 5-0 and 3-0 victories in their two games.
Coventry have also been amongst the goals with 4-2 and 7-2 successes, although it was them who Valley eased past in the previous round of the FA Cup a fortnight ago when a David Kolodynski double meant it was a happy (short) trip home for the Town faithful.
Rugby have already faced their upcoming cup opponents once this season, when the Roms visited for a warm-up game on the artificial pitch – with Kolodynski again on target to cancel out Kyle Rowley’s own goal in a 1-1 draw.
The West Midlands club have started their NPL South Division term by securing just a single point from their two matches to-date, but they will be looking to make it three wins on the trot in competitive fixtures at Butlin Road – after enjoying back-to-back victories there in Rugby’s brief stay in the NPL structure over the past couple of years.
Town did do significantly better in both return games though, with Kolodynski twice netting doubles in 5-1 and 3-0 scorelines in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Assuming Rugby are not involved in a cup replay against Romulus (which would take place on Monday evening), they will return to MFL action on Tuesday (15th) with a trip to Heanor Town.
Originally founded way back in 1883, the Derbyshire club have finished in sixth place in both of the two previous seasons in Valley’s new division and have started this campaign with a win and a loss.
Town keeper Niall Cooper sat out Tuesday’s draw with the after-effects of a dead leg picked up at Khalsa, and Max Smith-Varnam was drafted in from Barwell to cover for his absence then, but Cooper is expected to be okay for Saturday’s cup clash.
Midfielder Josh Thornton will sit out the final match of his three match ban at the weekend, with Craig Kelly and Trey Brathwaite also still both likely to be missing through injury.
# The club coach to Heanor on Tuesday will leave Butlin Road at 5pm. If a replay is required against Romulus, the Heanor game will be postponed and the coach to Coles Lane will depart at 5.15pm instead.