RUGBY TOWN: Time to lift morale after week’s cup defeats

Danico Johnson receiving his UCL scorer of the month award for August
Danico Johnson receiving his UCL scorer of the month award for August

Return to league action with trip to Eynesbury Rovers

Rugby Town return to league action this weekend with a trip to Eynesbury Rovers in the UCL Premier Division.

Saturday’s foray into Cambridgeshire comes on the back of two cup defeats over the past week, with Tuesday evening’s 2-1 league cup reverse at home to Leicester Nirvana coming hot on the heels of their 3-1 exit from the FA Cup in the Second Qualifying Round against Hednesford at Butlin Road.

The Hednesford loss brought an end to Valley’s more than respectable run in the cup - which had included previous victories against higher level opposition in Evesham and Redditch.

Town boss Carl Adams was understandably disappointed to miss out on a place in the next stage of the competition, but also recognised the quality of their NPL Premier Division opponents.

He said: “We started poorly on Saturday and looked a bit like the proverbial rabbits in the headlights and got punished for it.

“There was definite improvement in the second half, but Hednesford did look a quality outfit and the two-level gap between the two sides was there for all to see at times.”

Focusing on the Nirvana league cup defeat, he continued: “In some respects it’s no bad thing to no longer have the distraction of the competition, but I was disappointed by the manner of our exit.

“We had a number of players out there who haven’t played many minutes for us this season, and this was an opportunity to show me what they can do and stake a claim for a regular place in the side - which on the whole they failed to do.

“On top of the league defeat at Oadby, it now looks like a bad week or so for us and we will have to try and lift morale ahead of what is now a big game for us at Eynesbury.”

Saturday’s hosts currently sit in third spot in the division following their 3-0 success last weekend at Deeping, and have lost just once in six league outings - on the back of a seventh place finish last season.

The two clubs previously met six times in the 1970s in the UCL Division One, with Valley winning only one of these encounters.

Town have slipped down to the ninth in the current rankings as a result of their cup exploits, although they do have games in hand over the top six teams in the table - still headed by an unbeaten Daventry, although Valley’s local rivals did drop their first points of the season in a 1-1 draw at Nirvana on Saturday.

Adams added: “I will probably be looking at bringing in a couple of new faces in the near future to try and keep the existing players on their toes, but overall I’m pleased with the direction things are going.

“We have won eight out of twelve so far this season, and I’m relatively happy about where we are in the league - as long as we can kick start things again over the next few games.

“We know it’s going to be tough though. Opposing teams seem to be looking at matches against us as a bit of cup final for them, which is something the lads have got to learn to deal with.”

Adams’ main injury doubt for the weekend trip concerns Simeon Tulloch - who is nursing a sore groin picked up against Hednesford. Midfielder Richard Bunting’s niggling groin did stand up to ninety minutes on Tuesday though.

# Town striker Danico Johnson was presented with the UCL scorer of the month award for August ahead of last Saturday’s FA Cup clash. Johnson sat out the game completing a three match ban, but returned in midweek and registered his twelfth goal in just eight competitive starts to-date for the club.

# The club coach to Eynesbury will leave Butlin Road at 11.30 a.m. For latest information contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.