Pre-season win for Valley as Gary Mills continues to build his new-look squad - The Rugby Observer

Pre-season win for Valley as Gary Mills continues to build his new-look squad

Rugby Editorial 9th Jul, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

PREPARATIONS for the upcoming 2015/16 season are well underway for Rugby Town after they hosted a side from the Strachan Football Foundation (SFF) on the Butlin Road astroturf on Tuesday evening.

New Valley boss Gary Mills used the occasion to trial a number of players ahead of the new campaign which starts for real on August 15.

He will have been encouraged by the performance of his largely experimental squad on the night, which ultimately triumphed 3-1 over a well-organised and athletic opponents.

The Rugby-based football education programme team stepped in as late replacements for the club’s own Youth side following the tragic death of Youth Team manager Roy Miller last Friday.

And it was the hosts who took the lead in the first minute through David Kolodynski but SFF equalised almost immediately to pull back on level terms.

As the game progressed the inevitable lack of familiarity between the Valley players diminished, and they took control in the second half with a Tom Liversedge brace ensuring a first win for Mills, who himself made an appearance as a second half substitute.

Mills has two further chances to run the rule over his trialists over the coming week, with a trip to UCL Premier Cogenhoe on Saturday followed by another Butlin Road astroturf fixture against Continental Star next Tuesday at (7.30pm).

Callum Powell arguably made the biggest impression on Tuesday with a bright performance on the wing, and the one-time Northampton Town academy prospect was one of only two outfield players to feature for the entire 90 minutes, with the versatile Jo Ballinger one of three ex-Solihull Moors men to feature.

With nine players now having signed league registration forms following their release at the start of the month, Mills and his assistant Craig Adams will be working hard to supplement this total in the coming week or two, especially as their recruitment efforts have already been frustrated by the withdrawn commitment of a number of others.

Central defender Jason Lee appears to have had a change of heart after agreeing to join Town from last season’s Southern League Central Division champions Kettering, and it is also unlikely that Seb Lake-Gaskin will not feature for the club either this season due to new work circumstances.

With Lewis McBride also reneging on previous agreement to stay at the club by following a number of others to Coventry Sphinx, the 2015/16 line-up will now have a markedly new-look to it, as it embarks upon its pioneering season in a new league.

*The draws for the main FA competitions were made last week and for the fifth season in succession Rugby will face lower level opposition in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup.  Town will host the winners of the extra preliminary fixture between Coventry Sphinx and Lye Town on August 23, with the two Midland Football League sides playing their tie a fortnight prior to that.

And in the FATrophy, Valley travel to Southern League Central St.Ives on October 3d in the Preliminary Round, with the prize of a First Round home game against Kettering for the victors of this.

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