RUGBY TOWN: Weekend off then Walsall visit in cup on Tuesday

Nine-day gap will give players chance to recover from niggling injuries

Friday, 1st December 2017, 5:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 11:48 am
Brad Harris had a solid game at centre back against Lye PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY

Having just hung onto their spot in the top half of the MFL Premier Division table last Saturday following their goal-less draw at home to Lye, Rugby Town have a weekend off this time round due to the prolonged participation of their scheduled opponents Coventry United in the FA Vase.

Valley once more struggled to break down spirited opposition at Butlin Road and when they did, they were let down again by a lack of killer instinct in front of goal – not to mention their poor recent record from the penalty spot, which saw a third miss in just over a month.

With just ten goals from their ten home league outings so far, it is clear where manager Dave Stringer’s issues lie, and despite the presence of two experienced marksmen in the shape of Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and David Kolodynski, the Town boss may well be using the enforced break from action to consider how to get the best from his squad.

Rugby Town skipper James Dance

Rugby do return to action next Tuesday (5th) December though when they host a Walsall FC side in the second round of the Birmingham Senior Cup, and the nine day gap will also give extra time for a number of players to recover from their niggling muscular injuries.

Craig Kelly and Trey Brathwaite missed out on the Lye stalemate as a result of hamstring problems, whilst both Wiggins-Thomas and Kolodynski are also suffering from ongoing strains, with skipper James Dance another nursing himself through games at the moment with a recurring injury.

Rugby and Walsall also met at Butlin Road in the first round of the same competition two years ago when the Football League team progressed through on penalties after a 0-0 draw on 90 minutes.

Town return to league action a week Saturday (9th) when they host Heanor, with another home fixture to follow the weekend after against struggling Boldmere. At that point, Valley will have played 12 of their 19 MFL fixtures at Butlin Road, so there is plenty of travelling to look forward in the New Year for the Town faithful.

Josh Thornton in Saturday's 0-0 draw

It is also a Christmas on the road for Rugby, with trips to Wulfrunians and Rocester either side of the festivities on the 23rd and 26th of December respectively.

Meanwhile at the summit of the table, three teams – Coleshill, Sporting Khalsa and Bromsgrove – are breaking away from the rest of the division, with just a point separating this top trio. There is now a seven point gap to 4th placed Worcester on 34 points – nine ahead of Valley’s current total.

Rugby Town skipper James Dance
Josh Thornton in Saturday's 0-0 draw