CARL Adams is hoping Rugby Town can return to form in the United Counties League Premier Division after exiting both two cup competitions in the space of a week.
A 3-0 defeat at Newark Flowserve dumped Valley out of the FA Vase at the second round stage, following last Tuesday’s KitmanUK Knockout League Cup exit to Leicester Nirvana.
The Rugby manager targets a third successive league win at Harborough Town on Saturday (3pm), and said: “Before these cup setbacks, our form and confidence had been improving, so hopefully we can pick this up again now our focus is fully on the league.
“We have a run of five games against teams currently below us in the table, and whilst there is no room for any complacency, we know this is potentially our opportunity to make up ground on the teams above us.”
Harborough currently sit a point and two places below Town, with Saturday’s hosts winning the last meeting between the two at Northampton Road 3-0 in the last game of the 2018/19 season.
In Saturday’s Vase defeat in Nottinghamshire, Rugby welcomed Loyiso Recci and Justin Marsden back into the starting line-up, although they were unable to prevent their side from making an apathetic start.
Newark took advantage and were in front after 12 minutes when Gregg Smith planted a header beyond Matt Hill from Tom Potts’ inswinging cross to the far post.
Rugby almost levelled immediately when Marsden worked a yard of space and crashed a shot against the foot of the post, moments before Liam Francis rattled the bar with a header from Ryan Seal’s delivery.
The misses, as close as Rugby had been to finding the net, proved crucial as Danny Meadows drove the ball into the corner from close range to double Flowserve’s lead.
Adams’ side continued to push for a route back into the game but came up against an inspired Joe Searson between the sticks for the hosts, who tipped Seal’s effort past the post before denying Charlie Evans in a one-on-one.
Any momentum that the visitors were building quickly vanished when the second half got underway, with Meadows’ second of the afternoon the only highlight of a lacklustre half.