Rugby Town boss confident of more signings ahead of new season - The Rugby Observer

Rugby Town boss confident of more signings ahead of new season

Rugby Editorial 30th Jun, 2016 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

RUGBY Town boss James Jepson admits he is still in talks with potential new signings as his 30-man squad returned to training in preparation for the start of the new Evostik Northern Premier League Southern Division season which begins on August 13.

The Town boss confirmed that he was still talking to other targets beyond those who took part in the first pre-season session on Saturday but he is understandably delighted to get going after a busy summer of player identification and negotiation.

He said: “It was a decent first session and a good turnout, although there were still a few missing.

“We had a number of trialists there on Saturday, and the plan is for them to stay with us for a couple of weeks and give them an opportunity to play in the early warm-up games so we can assess what they can do.”

“I’m hoping to agree a deal with an experienced defender who has played all of his career at the levels above us, and if we can pull that one off it would be a great signing for us.”

While it looks like only two of last season’s regulars (David Kolodynski and Tom Ryan) will be back on-board again this time round, there was one further familiar face at Saturday’s session in the form of midfielder Sam Belcher.

Belcher made 29 starts for the club scoring eight times and was a pivotal member of the 2012/13 Southern League Central Division championship challenging squad until an untimely knee injury at main rivals Burnham saw him miss the remainder of the campaign and ultimately then out of the game for a long stretch.

The ex-Hinckley and Bedworth man was a popular figure at the club and Jepson was pleased to potentially have him at his disposal for the coming year.

He explained: “I’ve seen Sam play a couple of times so I know what a good player he is.  He clearly likes the club and the club likes him, so hopefully he can come back an even better player than he was before.”

Three goalkeepers took part in the weekend’s activities, with ex-Daventry stopper Ben Heath and young Monty Parks joining Ben Gathercole – who finished the 2015/16 season at Valley’s divisional counterparts Shaw Lane.

Jepson again was looking to run the rule over the trio in the friendly fixtures.  He added: “They are all good keepers.

“Ben Gathercole had a good grounding at Nottingham Forest before he left the professional game and is a good talker on the pitch.  Ben Heath has done well at this level over the past couple of years and Monty was developed at Notts County, so it will be interesting to see what they can do in the pre-season games.”

*Town have confirmed one more pre-season fixture with the addition of an away game at Kettering on Saturday 30th July, meaning the clubs will now meet either twice within four days in a two-legged competition for the Newlands Shield.

*Rugby’s impressive disciplinary record in 2015/16 was recognised at the recent Evostik League annual awards event, with the club being presented with both the South Division’s Fair Play trophy and also one from the Non League Paper – the leading newspaper for grassroots football.

Town accumulated just 35 bookings and one sending-off across the entire campaign, with none of those cautions being dissent related.  The NLP accolade is particularly impressive as Valley’s record came out on top of all the 272 teams in the first four steps of the non-league pyramid.


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