RUGBY TOWN: North Greenford visit

Robbie Burns against Uxbridge  (picture by Martin Pulley)
Robbie Burns against Uxbridge (picture by Martin Pulley)

Busy weekend with Silent Night Carol Service on Sunday

There’s a busy weekend ahead at Butlin Road, with Saturday seeing Rugby Town host North Greenford in the Southern League Central Division, and then on Sunday the stadium complex will be used for an event in support of the nationwide football-centric initiative to recognise the hundred year anniversary of the 1914 World War One Christmas truce.

Saturday’s opponents United are struggling near the foot of the table with just three league wins all season, so Valley will be hoping for a maximum return from the game ahead of a particularly tough run of fixtures into the turn of the year.

After the weekend, Rugby will then face the current top four in the division in their next four matches – with Hanwell and Bedworth who are 3rd and 2nd placed due at Butlin Road on the 13th and 26th of December respectively, and trips to 4th placed Aylesbury and leaders Kettering on the 20th and New Years’ Day.

Town slipped one more place in the table to 7th themselves after last Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Uxbridge, although they are level on points with the two teams above them – Chalfont and Royston, as the race for the play-offs starts to intensify.

Dave Stringer’s side go into this crucial month ahead in fairly decent form though, with just two defeats from the last eleven league games, although Town’s boss will no doubt be worried about the number of goals that have been conceded recently.

Uxbridge’s treble made it seventeen against Valley in the last six games, and Stringer knows that things will have to tighten up if they are to end the season in a top five spot.

At the other end of the pitch, he will be hoping that last season’s star performer Seb Lake-Gaskin has recovered from his ankle injury to face a North Greenford side that have failed to register a win in the last eight league outings – a run that has seen them slump to 21st in the table. Stringer will also be hoping that Sam Youngs and Alex Austin – who both missed the trip to Uxbridge – are available again at the weekend.

The two teams last met just under a year ago, when Town strolled to a 5-1 victory in Middlesex – thanks to a David Kolodynski hat-trick and a Jared Cunniff brace.

Neither of the scoring duo are with the club anymore of course, although new signing Robbie Burns has started his Valley career well with two goals in two games, with another recent addition to Stringer’s squad Lewis Rankin also on target for the second time at Uxbridge.

Kolodynski’s third appearance in a Kettering shirt at the weekend saw him once more draw a blank for his new club, although their 2-0 home win over Chalfont did mean they maintained the five point gap between them and the chasing pack.

# Sunday’s event at Butlin Road will see a football tournament for local youth teams on the club’s astroturf facility between 11am and 2pm, ahead of a community Silent Night carol singing concert on the main pitch – which is scheduled to start at 4pm.

The free event recognises the 1914 ceasefire where frontline troops downed arms to play football, sing carols and exchange gifts, and is being replicated at many football and sporting stadia across the country in the run-up to Christmas.

# The draw for the third round of the Red Insure sponsored Southern League Cup has been made, and Town will travel to Premier Division Biggleswade on January 6th in search of a place in the quarter-finals of the competition for the second time in four years.

# Town’s 2015 calendar is now on-sale. Priced at £5, it can be bought from the club’s VS Bar, Horts Estate Agents on Regent Street, Mosaic Coffee Shop in Bilton, Maddens Newsagents in Hillmorton or Melbros on Great Central Way. A donation from the proceeds of the calendar will be made to Tearfund – the official charity of the Silent Night commemorative campaign.