RUGBY Town boss Gary Mills is hopeful that his side will overcome a goal drought that has hampered their pre-season preparations when they kick-off their first ever campaign in the NPL this Saturday at Loughborough Dynamo.
Last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to Barwell meant it was six hours of friendly action on the main Butlin Road pitch without a goal for the new-look Valley line-up.
Triallist Will Muzuimbiri’s effort in the 1-1 draw at Cogenhoe back on July 11 remains Town’s only goal on grass in five attempts, although they did manage 11 more on the Butlin Road artificial surface in two comfortable warm-up victories against the Strachan Football Foundation and Continental Star.
Reflecting on pre-season, new boss Mills said: “Defensively we have looked okay, but I accept that we have struggled a little on the attacking front – especially in terms of opening up the opposition.
“We have been improving gradually though, and I’m learning about the lads all of the time.
“We created a few decent chances on Saturday and David Kolodynski was unlucky on a couple of occasions. I’m sure that once he and we get going with one goal then plenty of others will follow.
“The lads have worked hard for us in pre-season, but we accept it is difficult to get virtually a brand new set of players to gel together that quickly.
“It’s hard to do that successfully when you’re full-time and with half the changes, so when you only get the chance to work with a group that’s unfamiliar with each other only twice a week, it’s a real challenge.
“There are some positive signs out there for us though, and if we can stick together and stick to the plan and structure that we have laid down, we hope we can be challenging in the top end of the division come the end of the season.”
Mills was hoping to confirm the availability of Northampton Town youth duo Sam Warburton and Danny Clifton ahead of the Loughborough trip, but he admitted that he was still looking to add to player tally.
Goalkeeper Scott Dutton has signed having started the last three friendlies, with Neil Collett now likely to depart to join his previous boss Dave Stringer at Chasetown.
He added: “The squad is still a little light, so I’m hoping we can bring one or two more pretty soon. I have spoken to Northampton boss Chris Wilder to try and tie up Sam and Danny, but I think we still need another striking option and a creative midfielder too – perhaps as a wide player.”