RUGBY TOWN: Injury crisis for Christmas campaign

Robbie Burns against Hanwell last week
Robbie Burns against Hanwell last week

Valley short of numbers for crucial games

Rugby Town go into their crucial Christmas campaign desperately short of numbers, as boss Dave Stringer’s problems continued to mount during last weekend’s 1-1 home draw against Hanwell.

Skipper Alex Gudger did not even make the kick-off after pulling up in the pre-match warm-up, and both Lewis Rankin and Ben George had withdrawn injured before the second half had started – meaning Stringer is likely to have a busy week ahead of this Saturday’s game at Aylesbury looking for new recruits.

Stringer is hoping that both Gudger and George recover in time for the trip to Buckinghamshire, but with Lewis McBride unavailable again this Saturday, Mitchell Piggon still out with a pulled hamstring and Rankin suffering the same fate at the weekend, his attacking options are severely limited – especially as Seb Lake-Gaskin is still short of full fitness.

Lake-Gaskin had made a short appearance from the bench in the previous weekend’s victory over North Greenford, but was not risked on Saturday despite the problems elsewhere.

This Saturday’s opponents Aylesbury have had a good campaign so far, sitting six points and three spots ahead of Town in the table in third.

Valley had held onto their place in the play-off zone after their draw against Hanwell, but then slipped out of it following Barton’s midweek win at North Greenford.

The Moles will be looking for the double over Rugby, following a 3-1 success at Butlin Road in November, although Town are unbeaten in four trips to Haywood Way in four years – the most recent match-up there ending goalless in March this year.

Saturday’s fixture marks the start of three tough games in twelve days over the festive period, with Town then facing second place Bedworth at Butlin Road on Boxing Day before a trip to current league leaders Kettering on New Year’s Day – where they will of course come up against old-boy David Kolodynski for the first time.

Kolodynski finally broke his duck for his new club in his fifth appearance in a Poppies’ shirt at the weekend, registering a second-half hat-trick against Royston to help maintain their five point lead over Bedworth at the top of the table.

# Town’s solitary goal on Saturday from Craig Kelly represented his first since joining the club in July 2012. The ex-Coventry City academy player has made 87 appearances - primarily at full-back – in that time, before his spectacular strike from the edge of the penalty area ended his barren run.

# The club coach to Aylesbury will leave Butlin Road at 12 midday. For further information contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.