First home fixture on Saturday as Boston visit Butlin Road
Rugby Town manager Carl Adams declared himself “reasonably happy” with the start to the season made by his new team, after watching them comfortably see off Coventry United to earn an FA Cup Preliminary Round home tie against Evesham at Butlin Road a week Saturday (25th).
Town’s Sunday 2-1 success at the Butts Park Arena came on the back of a win and a loss in their opening two UCL Premier Division matches, and Valley return to league action this weekend with their first home UCL outing of the campaign against Boston Town.
Adams reflected on the opening fortnight of the season: “We made a really good start at Peterborough, but Leicester Nirvana game was a massive disappointment for us all.
“Hopefully that has acted as the kick up the backside that we need and made the players realise that they will have work hard for every point this year.
“Fortunately we were back on it in the cup at Coventry, and I thought we coped very well considering we were without three of our best players.”
The experienced Richard Bunting was only fit enough for a place on the bench due to a groin injury, and ex-Stratford duo Loyiso Recci and Lee Thomas both missed a rare Sunday outing for Town due to work commitments.
Adams is hoping that Bunting’s niggle will have recovered in time for the weekend, and should have a bolstered squad to chose from again - with only Simeon Tulloch and Aiden Print currently out of contention.
He continued: “I look upon Saturday’s game as a big one for us. If we can win it, it will be three victories out of four and will give us much needed momentum.
“It will be a welcome change to finally get out on a decent playing surface too. The three pitches we have had to deal with so far have been difficult to say the least, but it has shown the players what they will be facing this season - as many of them are used to playing at a higher level and on better conditions.”
Adams is not expecting any significant changes to his personnel. He said: “I’m not looking to bring anyone else in at the moment, and hoping not to lose anyone either.
“I believe that you should give a new squad ten to twelve games before deciding what - if anything - needs to be altered, and as long as we can stay within three to five points of the top of the table, I’ll be happy.”
The Coventry cup success saw Town striker Danico Johnson continue his impressive start to his Butlin Road career, with two more goals to add to his opening day hat-trick.
Adams added: “Danico has started the season magnificently. The difficulty may be holding onto him if this continues though.
“He’s played at a higher level and also been at a lot of clubs over the past couple of seasons, and I’ve told him it would be good for his career to spend a whole season at one club and play forty plus games there and see what happens from that.”
The Valley boss also praised the contribution of Johnson’s strike partner on Sunday Charlie Evans: “I was really impressed by Charlie at the weekend. Last season at Stratford, I mainly used him in a wide role, but I thought we would try him up top instead as he has a real ability to jink past players and open up space for himself as a result.
“His workrate was excellent at Coventry and he caused them lots of trouble. It was also encouraging to see that Richard Blythe can drop back and fill the centre-back role with such ease too.”
Saturday’s visitors Boston have opened their UCL season with a draw and a loss, with a further defeat following in their FA Cup fixture at Staveley Miners Welfare last Saturday.
The two sides have not met previously, but Rugby have played against the Lincolnshire port town’s main club - Boston United - in an FA Cup Qualifying Round tie 28 years ago.