Valley return to training this weekend
Rugby Town return to training this weekend, giving Valley’s new management team six weeks to prepare for the new season, writes Jon Venner.
Returning boss Dave Stringer and his assistant Ross Miller will run the rule over their new-look squad on Saturday, with the first warm-up game scheduled for the Butlin Road astro pitch a fortnight later, before the competitive side of things start with an Extra Preliminary Round FA Cup tie on August 5.
Whilst Stringer has already been busy attracting a number of players to Rugby from higher level clubs, there could also be a number or familiar faces from last season in their line-up too.
Valley’s all-time leading scorer David Kolodynski has signed a one year extension to his contract, and he should be joined at training over the coming weeks by five further players from the 2016/17 campaign – with Mason Rowley, Kyle Rowley, Trey Brathwaite, Aiden Print and Chris Sterling all stating their desire to be part of Stringer’s plans.
24-year-old defender Mason has already racked up more than 180 appearances in a Town shirt in three spells at the club, whilst his brother Kyle started half of the team’s league games last season in two separate stays at Butlin Road.
Brathwaite joined the club in December 2016 from Stratford and was one of the few to make a positive impact in the disappointing season – mainly from a left-back berth.
19-year-old ex-Strachan Foundation graduate Print also showed some promise in a wide position, with Sterling notching seven times in a variety of attacking roles – having arrived with an impressive goalscoring record elsewhere in the three previous seasons.
Meanwhile two of Stringer’s recruits from his previous side Chasetown – James Dance and Josh Ruff - have joined Kolodynski and other new arrivals Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and Niall Cooper in signing one year contract deals.
Dance was Stringer’s captain at the Scholars having previously featured for three clubs (Luton, Nuneaton and Kidderminster) in the Conference, with fellow midfielder Ruff another permanent fixture in the Black Country’s starting line-up last year, after impressing in the Midland Football League with Nuneaton Griff the previous term.