RUGBY TOWN: It’s Marlow today (Saturday) and Bedworth United on Monday

Jamie Towers against AFC Hayes last week
Jamie Towers against AFC Hayes last week

Two home wins and two away defeats so far for Valley

Following their latest brace of matches, it is now two wins out of two at home and two defeats in two away for Rugby Town – who occupy equal ninth position in the early Southern League Central Division table as a result.

The latest victory and loss came at Butlin Road against Hayes and then at Northwood respectively, with the unbeaten Hanwell and Potters Bar currently heading the division going into the busy Bank Holiday weekend fixture schedule.

Valley start this with the visit of Marlow today, Saturday, before making the short trip to Bedworth on Monday – where they will of course be hoping to finally register some success on the road.

Today, Saturday’s opponents Marlow have struggled in their opening four league games, failing to secure a victory to-date, although they were unlucky to lose out to a single goal at Daventry on Tuesday evening – conceding it in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

The Buckinghamshire club will however be looking to improve on last season’s 17th place finish – their first back in the Southern League after a two year absence.

Rugby have a perfect record of six wins out of six in league matches between the two clubs though, with the two games last season producing a total of thirteen goals as Valley racked up a 6-2 and 3-2 double.

On the other hand, Bedworth have started the new campaign well with three wins from four matches, and are fourth in the table behind third placed Kettering and the unbeaten top pairing.

2014/15 marks a return to Southern League action for the Greenbacks after a one year spell in the NPL. It was a year of struggle there however, as they flirted with dropping out of step four of the non-league pyramid for most of the season – before the arrival of the experienced Stuart Storer helped them avoid back-to-back relegations.

Monday’s fixture will be the 43rd game between the two sides, with United currently holding the upper hand with sixteen victories to Valley’s fourteen.

The two clubs last met in September 2012, when ex-Valley player Steve Farmer guided his team into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup after a replay at the Oval.

Bedworth’s ground has undergone a redevelopment project over the summer, which has seen the installation of a new 3G astroturf pitch – on which the Warwickshire club will now play their first team matches.

Monday’s game will represent the first competitive one on the new surface, whilst also being the first Southern League fixture to be played on artificial turf – with the league having scheduled United’s opening five matches away from the Oval.

Valley boss Dave Stringer should have Richard Blythe, Jamie Towers and Lewis Bishop all back in the squad for Saturday, after the trio missed the 2-0 Northwood defeat through work commitments.

However Blythe will sit out Town’s opening game in the FA Cup the following weekend, as a result of a three match suspension for his sending-off in last Saturday’s 1-0 Hayes home win.

Rugby will travel to Hereford-based Westfields FC in that Preliminary Round tie on August 30th, after the Midland Football League side beat Gornal Athletic 2-1 in the Extra Preliminary stage last Saturday.