Trip to North Greenford on Saturday and Leamington replay on Tuesday
A disappointing return of just a solitary point from their two games over the past week has seen Rugby Town slip a couple of places to eighth in the Evostik Southern League Central Division.
Valley followed up on their draw at struggling Chertsey at the weekend, with a 2-1 home defeat against Northwood on Tuesday evening, and manager Dave Stringer was understandably unhappy with the blip after a run of four straight league victories before that.
He said: “It’s clearly not what we were looking for from the last week, but we have to move on.
“I thought we played really well last Saturday on a very poor pitch, and fully deserved a win from the game. We played some good football, created a fair few chances, hit the woodwork a couple of times and then we unfortunately conceded a deflected equaliser.
“On Tuesday, we again started well, could have been two or three up early on, but then lost our way after we scored and our ball retention in the second half in particular just wasn’t good enough.
“Having said that, I thought Northwood were a decent side on the night, and were arguably the best we have played this season at our level, and I truly believe they are in a false position in the table at the moment.”
Next-up for Rugby is another trip to one of the division’s basement sides – North Greenford United.
The Middlesex club have won only once in the league this season – on the opening day of the campaign against rock-bottom Woodford, who themselves are without a single point to their name after ten straight defeats.
Town will also be looking for an improvement on last season’s trip to Greenford, when a 4-0 reverse in April all but ended their 2011-12 play-off hopes. Prior to this heavy loss, Valley had boasted a 100% record from the three games between the two clubs.
Stringer is looking for a reaction from his team this weekend. He added:
“We’re a young side and therefore we have to accept there are going to be highs and lows, but hopefully they can learn from this set-back.
“We will get the lads in for training on Thursday and try and lift them back up again. I fully expect them to bounce straight back and recapture the form we had shown previously.”
Stringer will still be without the injured Michael Williams at the weekend, although with the wide man back in light training, the Valley boss is hoping he can play some part in the rescheduled Southern League Cup tie next Tuesday evening – when Leamington return to Butlin Road.
The original fixture was abandoned after 75 minutes when a power failure knocked out half of the floodlights, and the match officials deemed the lighting levels to be too low to continue safely.
Leamington manager Paul Holleran has been quoted as being unhappy with the referee’s decision on the night and also bemoaned the lack of communication at the time – despite the fact that the stadium’s tannoy system was one of the areas shut down by the loss of power.
As a result , he had called for Town to make the game free admission for all spectators, whilst at the same time his chairman was agreeing to the decision to offer half-price entry at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.
James Husband had given the Brakes a twelfth minute lead in the original game, although Valley had responded well after this set-back, going close to an equaliser on a number of occasions.
The coach to North Greenford will leave the clubhouse at 11am. For further information, contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.
PICTURE BY MARTIN PULLEY