RUGBY Town manager Carl Adams is putting plans in place for next season after three more Valley players agreed new contracts for the 2022/23 season.
Midfield due Caine Elliott and Barry Fitzharris along with Valley’s all-time leading scorer David Kolodynski are the latest to sign up for another campaign at Butlin Road.
Adams said: “We’re looking to avoid the situation we’ve experienced in past years, when the squad has not been quite right going into a new season.
“This has seen us drop far too many points in the first couple of months of it, and therefore left us playing catch up pretty much from the off.”
And Town’s current season suffered what proved to be a fatal blow when an August Bank Holiday reverse at Coventry United began a 30-day spell that included four defeats and a draw.
In contrast, promotion rivals Harborough Town and Hinckley LRFC, both from Leicestershire, secured victory after victory at the beginning of the season and are now all but mathematically sure of securing the league’s two available promotion places.
Adams added: “We want to go into pre-season with a guaranteed core of players that we know and can trust, and the latest additions make it eight in total that have signed contracts now.
“I am looking to add one – or maybe two – more to that from within, and have got some specific targets lined-up from elsewhere once the season is over – so that we can hopefully really hit the ground running come August.
“It also means that we have already let go players that we don’t feel are part of next year’s plans, and we thank them for their contributions at the club and wish them well elsewhere.”
And that means that forward pair Danico Johnson and Dylan Parker have both departed Butlin Road over the past week, with Parker making his debut for Racing Club Warwick last weekend, while a destination for Johnson is not yet known.
Despite the forward planning focus, Adams had vowed ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Newport Pagnell that he “hadn’t thrown in the towel just yet” on the existing schedule, and his team was as good as his promise at Willen Road, when Rugby leapfrogged back into third place in the table with a richly deserved 2-1 victory over the previous incumbents of that slot.
Goals from Kolodynski and Madundo Semahimbo gave Valley the three point haul over a side that had secured a place in the semi-finals of the FA Vase three days earlier, at the same time that Town themselves were falling to a disappointing 3-1 league loss at mid-table Eynesbury.
Semahimbo was again on-target at Eynesbury with a second half equaliser before two late defensive howlers from Harry Eden and Ash Bodycote condemned Rugby to their eighth defeat of the season.
Next up for Town is the visit of Godmanchester Rovers this Saturday, which represents one of six fixtures left for them against current bottom half of the table teams.
Tuesday’s win boosts Adams’s hopes of ensuring as high a points total and league placing as possible, and he will be hoping that Newport’s tougher run-in and potential Wembley distractions boost Valley’s third place prospects further.
He said: “I thought we played really well on Tuesday and arguably put in our best performance for at least couple of months against what is clearly a very capable side.
“Hopefully we can maintain those levels of quality and intensity between now and the end of April, and then build on this core that we are putting together come next season.”
Rugby’s clash with Godmanchester takes place tomorrow (Saturday, March 19) with kick-off at 3pm at Butlin Road.