Mixed week for new Rugby Town boss Dale Belford - The Rugby Observer
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18th Aug, 2022

Mixed week for new Rugby Town boss Dale Belford

Steve Carpenter 1st Oct, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

Rugby Town have been drawn away to National League North side Brackley in the Third Qualifying Round of the F.A.Cup, after their success in the previous round last weekend against Lincoln United.

Valley will make the trip to St.James Park next Saturday (10th), after goals from Callum Powell, Danny Clifton and David Kolodynski saw off their divisional counterparts at Butlin Road.

However there was bad news elsewhere for new Town boss Dale Belford with Tividale’s 4-2 league victory over Belper lifting them off the bottom of the NPL South Division, meaning Rugby went into last (Wednesday) night’s game at Carlton at the very foot of the table.

It is back to cup action again this weekend though when Town kick-off their F.A.Trophy campaign with a Preliminary Round tie at Southern League St.Ives.

The Cambridgeshire club’s groundshare agreement with Cambridge City provides Rugby with a rare outing on a Sunday, and with another knockout game next Tuesday (6th) when a Walsall side visit Butlin Road in the Birmingham Senior Cup, Belford will be hoping that his side can stay injury free ahead of that big game at Brackley.

Belford has been active in boosting squad numbers over the past week or so though, completing the signing of defender Sam Woods at the start of last week, before adding midfielder Roger Lee ahead of the Lincoln game, and then securing the capture of another defender Ash Gray this week.

Woods, Lee and Gray join previous Belford recruits Jake Healy and Spencer Smith, as the ex-Tamworth boss looks to drag his new charges up the league table.

24 year old Woods made his debut as a substitute at Market Drayton, before making his first start against Lincoln on Saturday – playing at both full-back and centre-half, and includes Coalville, Loughborough Dynamo and Gresley amongst his previous clubs.

Lee – also 24 – has featured for Weston-Super-Mare and Clevedon after moving to the U.K. from Bermuda – for whom he has made 10 full international appearances, and Gray has been at Atherstone for four years, moving up from their youth team to be a regular starter for the Midland Football League side.

This Sunday’s Trophy opponents have had a decent start to their Central Division campaign, currently occupying seventh spot in the league that Valley narrowly failed to get promoted from five years in succession.

Rugby’s record against the Ives has been good though, with three wins and a draw from the four encounters with them in the last two seasons – with goals from Richard Gregory and Sam Youngs (2) helping them to a 3-0 victory at the Pro-Edge Stadium at the start of this calendar year.

Next Tuesday evening’s match sees Town hosting professional opposition in the competition for the third time in just over a year.  Rugby beat a Burton Albion XI 4-2 at the same stage of the cup last season, before losing out to an impressive West Brom side in the next round.

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