RUGBY Town manager Carl Adams insists his side has the ability to win the league title this season having enjoyed a near perfect first half of the campaign.
Valley have lost just one league game all season and were 10 points clear at the top of the United Counties League Premier Division South table on Christmas Day although second-place Coventry Sphinx have three games in hand.
And boss Adams has promotion firmly in his sights with his side the division’s highest scorers and come into the festive period off the back of six straight wins in the league.
Adams said: “From where we are sat in the table and with the ability of the squad we have now, I strongly believe that we can go on and win the league from here.
“We know we will have to maintain the levels and standards that we have shown already in the first half of the season, but it is fortunate that we have got many of the tougher games out of the way already and there’s a great togetherness in the dressing room that hopefully will get us across the line.
“We also know that each and every game will be a tough one and there will be no gimmes, but finally getting out of this level of the pyramid is paramount to me and I’ll be doing all I can to ensure that we achieve it this year.
“There’s always going to be pressure when you’re sitting at the top, but I’d much rather be the team being chased rather than one of the chasers – as has been the case for us over the past few years.
“We know that our two main challengers in this division Coventry Sphinx and Newport Pagnell are strong teams too, and I’m sure that they will continue their good form throughout the campaign, so there’s likely to be very little margin of error for us.”
Rugby retained the majority of their squad from the previous season and signed prolific striker Jordan Wilson from local rivals Lutterworth Town in October to further boost their promotion prospects.
Valley finished third in the league last term and Adams admits learning from teams previously promoted from the division should stand his side in good stead come the end of the campaign.
Adams added: “We’ve tried to learn from the teams that have been successful in this division in previous years.
“We tried to make sure we are stronger and more compact defensively, and I think the limited number of goals we have conceded and the number of clean sheets we have had show we are achieving that.
“There have been a number of times this season where I think last season we would have dropped points in games, but the spirit in the squad has got us through this time around.
“It’s been a great start for us with just one defeat in seventeen games played in the league and a decent run in the FA Cup too, the aim was to hit the ground running from the off this season and that is what we have managed to do.
“Getting the core of last season’s squad to commit on contract has helped us maintain continuity and the players that we have managed to bring in or bring back – both before and during the season – have helped create a situation where we have genuine options on the bench week in week out.”
And the boss was quick to address Rugby’s habit of starting games too slowly earlier in the campaign and now wants his side to maintain a high level of intensity over the course of 90 minutes.
Adams said: “There’s always bound to be areas that can be improved, we’d identified that we had a tendency to start games slowly this season, so we have tried to address this.
“This seems to have worked, as we’ve started really strongly and given ourselves three-goal leads in the first twenty minutes or so in the last couple of games as a result.
“I guess the challenge now is to maintain that early intensity throughout the entire ninety minutes, although I accept it can be harder to do that when you establish such a big advantage so early in the match.”
Rugby manager Adams also refused to rule out the possibility of further incomings before the season is out.
He said: “It’s possible that there will some further comings and goings before the end of the season at Butlin Road.
“I expect that Sphinx and Newport will close the points gap between us and them with the games in hand they have, so it’s important that we have a squad that can kick-on further to deal with this.
“We’re always looking out for players that have the necessary quality and mentality to improve what we have here.
“The signing of Jordan Wilson is a perfect example of this, he’s been a great signing for us, not only has he come in and scored goals from the off, but his arrival here and the increased competition for places upfront has spurred on others too and we have become more prolific up-front as a whole.”