FOOTBALL: RUGBY Town manager Dave Stringer looked at the positives of a weekend off, caused by the frustrating postponement of the club’s Midland Football League clash against Heanor, writes Jon Venner.
Valley welcome Boldmere St Michaels to Butlin Road on Saturday, and Stringer is hopeful his side can bounce back to winning ways after landing four new signings in the past fortnight.
The arriving quartet of Stuart Hendrie, Conor Wright, Jeff Woodward and Sam Lockley join a Valley squad that is looking to push back up the MFL Premier Division table over the coming weeks.
Stringer said: “While it is always disappointing when you can’t get matches on for whatever reason, the extra week of training has at least provided the new players with the chance to bed in properly and get to know the rest of the lads too in the process.
“The extended break has also given those players struggling with knocks and niggles a little more recovery time.
“Hopefully we will have a fully-fit and enhanced group ready to go this weekend.”
Hendrie joins from MFL Division Two title challengers Montpelier, where he has already scored 20 goals in just 16 appearances.
The 28-year-old younger brother of Aston Villa and England international Lee also completed a year long contract at Football League club Morecambe back in 2010-11 and teamed up with Valley’s current leading scorer Ruben Wiggins-Thomas to help fire Basford to the MFL Premier title three seasons ago.
The Valley boss was delighted to have finally landed a longstanding target: “We were hoping to get Stuart on-board in the summer but unfortunately it just didn’t work out.
“He is a quality player with a good pedigree and an eye for a goal. I’m really pleased that we’ve managed to get him here now.”
Wright signs from fellow MFL side Worcester having also featured for Montpelier earlier in the campaign, whilst Woodward makes the switch from Coventry United and Lockley takes the step up from Rugby Borough FC.
Stringer added: “We have had our eye on Conor for a while too and I have been impressed from what I have seen from him in training already.
“He’s young and willing to learn, and can play anywhere down the right hand side.
“Jeff is only 24 years old and has started 15 times for United so far this season.
“I have had glowing reports from Biggleswade manager Chris Nunn for whom he played last year, and he will give us good options across the back-four.”
Stringer is particularly excited by Strachan graduate Lockley.
He said: “We had Sam here in pre-season and I liked what I saw from him then. He has really quick feet and he could be a little gem.
“He’s also trained fantastically well so far and whilst we are not putting any pressure on the lad, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do for us.”