RUGBY Town begin their latest journey into the relative unknown this weekend when they kick-off their season in the United Counties League Premier Division with a trip to Peterborough Northern Star.
Saturday’s fixture will represent a first appearance in this league for Valley in more than four decades following their switch over from the Midland League Premier Division at the end of last season after a single year stay there.
Rugby enjoyed a six year stint in the UCL in the early 1970’s, during which time they faced up to just three of their new division’s current inhabitants – Desborough, Eynesbury and Northampton ON Chenecks.
Town rounded off their testing pre-season programme last weekend with another defeat – their third in six warm-up outings – at home to Bedworth.
However, as with the previous two losses against Redditch United and Hednesford Town, Valley competed well against opponents two levels higher than them in the non-league pyramid and Town boss Carl Adams should find many positives from what he saw of his new-look squad over the schedule as a whole.
Last Saturday’s 2-0 Butlin Road defeat came thanks to two goals in the final ten minutes from the Greenbacks, with Iyseden Christie opening the scoring for them with a diving header before ex-Town striker Levi Rowley doubled the margin late-on.
Adams was without key performers Danico Johnson, Loyiso Recci and Keenah Rosser for the friendly and their best chances had come in the first half, with Harry Holloway and Lewis Rankin going close early on before Justin Marsden’s clipped effort was kept out by Bedworth keeper Dan Crane later in the period.
Johnson, Recci and Rosser should all be back for Saturday’s UCL bow at Peterborough, although Adams will be without his unavailable playing-assistant Marsden.
Young striker Sam Lockley continues to struggle for match fitness following his ankle fracture at the end of last season, whilst another Strachan Foundation graduate Aiden Print missed out on all the preparations for the new campaign through injury.
Rugby then travel Leicester Nirvana on Tuesday night.