Valley boss left with selection headache - The Rugby Observer

Valley boss left with selection headache

Rugby Editorial 29th Jan, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

VALLEY boss Dave Stringer has stressed he is not afraid to make changes to his starting line-up for the upcoming trip to St.Ives despite seeing his side extend their winning streak to seven matches.

Two late goals from substitutes Lewis Rankin and Fazel Koriya secured Valley’s latest 2-1 success against Beaconsfield at Butlin Road on Saturday after the hosts had put in a relatively innocuous first 80 minutes.

Stringer was disappointed with his team’s overall performance on Saturday and he has hinted at the possibility of making changes ahead of the trip to Cambridgeshire this weekend.

“We didn’t play well on Saturday.” said Stringer. “But fortunately we managed to find a way to get the win in the end.

“Before we finally made the breakthrough, we had struggled to get any real control, our passing was generally poor and there were a few out there who didn’t play to their full potential.

“We changed things around as the second half went on, and altered our philosophy a little too. We thought we needed an injection of pace and tried to get in behind them more, and it seemed to work.

“I’m not the type of manager that continues to pick the same team just because we are winning, as I think that is a bit of a cop out.

“With most of the injured players now back available again, we have a strong squad at the moment and the lads that came off the bench on Saturday did fantastically – so it’s highly possible that we might make one or two changes at St.Ives.”

The Beaconsfield victory took fourth placed Town to within three points of current Evostik Southern League Central Division leaders Aylesbury, who slipped to a rare defeat at home to Godalming last weekend, while second-placed Kettering and third-placed Bedworth also snapped at the heels of the Moles a point adrift.

Stringer concluded: “If we can keep this squad together and free from further injuries until the end of the season, I believe we should be in with a decent chance.”

Saturday’s opponents St.Ives are sitting in 14th place in the congested mid-chunk of the table, and come into the game in reasonably decent form with just two defeats from their last 11 league matches.

Their latest outing saw them earn a point from a 0-0 home draw with fifth placed Hanwell, although with 59 goals against them across the whole league campaign to-date, only bottom side AFC Hayes (61) have conceded more so far.

This is the second season of competitive fixtures between the two sides, with Rugby having done the double over The Ives in 2013/14, which included a 3-0 success in the corresponding game at Westwood Road, thanks to a Seb Lake-Gaskin double and one from Sam Youngs.

A 2-2 draw in this season’s reverse fixture at Butlin Road back in October saw the visitors twice come from behind to deny Valley the victory, with Lake-Gaskin again on the scoresheet.

The 23 year-old striker continued his rehabilitation from an extended period out with an ankle injury with a first league start in 11 games against Beaconsfield last weekend. However fellow ankle victim full-back Craig Kelly is still missing and unlikely to be back in action for a few weeks.

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