Coventry United visit Butlin Road on Saturday
Having seen his side round off an unbeaten September with a league win at Boldmere, Rugby Town boss Dave Stringer was understandably satisfied with recent progress.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Non-League Day local derby with Coventry United at Butlin Road, Stringer reflected: “We are slowly but surely getting close to where we want to be. Results have been very good this month and performances are much improved, but there is still lots of work to be done and room for further improvement.”
Last Saturday’s 3-0 success meant it was seven wins and a draw from their eight September outings in all competitions, and Rugby’s latest clean sheet extended their record of not conceding a league goal to more than seven hours of playing time.
Stringer continued: “Defensively we have been excellent of late and that is something we have been working hard on at training. The players have taken on board what we have asked on them, but for certain we are not resting on our laurels.”
The Town squad has been bolstered by the arrival of two returning players, with midfielders Lee Miveld and Steve Palmer back at the club – signing from Hinckley and Hednesford respectively.
Both players had featured for Stringer in his previous spell in charge at the Valley, with the ex-Coalville, Mickleover and Shepshed man Miveld starting seven games back in 2012 and Palmer scoring twice from 17 starts and 35 substitute appearances in two years at Town.
The Rugby boss explained: “The squad is looking a much healthier now with the return of a few players from injury and the recent new arrivals.
“It’s always nice to be able to strengthen from a position of strength in the first place, as it creates much-needed healthy competition within the squad. There’s a possibility we will be adding one further player before the end of the week, and we are working hard to get this one over the line.”
There will be at least one change to Rugby’s starting line-up this Saturday, with in-form midfielder Josh Ruff missing out on the Coventry fixture after he picked up a fifth booking of the campaign at Boldmere.
This weekend’s opponents will be looking to avenge for Town’s victory over them in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on the opening day of the season, when a David Kolodynski brace secured a 2-1 win despite the early sending off of Valley’s Josh Thornton.
Having made a flying start to their league season with five straight wins, United then followed this with a run of a draw and three defeats, and they briefly dropped below Rugby in the MFL Premier Division table.
However Coventry’s 3-1 victory over Long Eaton on Tuesday saw them jump back up to 4th position – two points ahead of 7th placed Valley.
# This Saturday is the eighth annual Non League Day, and Town are marking the occasion by offering free entry to accompanied under 16s. Each paying adult spectator can bring in up to two youths free of charge, with a joint effort from both clubs planned to support the Non League Day nominated charity – Prostate Cancer UK.