RUGBY Town’s league campaign is set to begin again in September after the FA’s plan to restart grassroots football was approved by the Government last week.
Football was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the season was null and voided, but now non-League football has been given the go-ahead with friendlies allowed from August behind closed doors and competitive fixtures from September back in front of fans again.
Exact details of league line-ups and competition start dates are still to be confirmed, but it at least gives Rugby manager Carl Adams the opportunity to plan for the new season.
The squad has recently restarted team training after the prolonged break and now they have a new date to work towards for the first pre-season game at Gresley on August 11.
Valley director Neil Melvin welcomed the news of football returning, saying: “We are delighted football is back on the horizon. Carl, Justin and the squad are raring to get back on the pitch and continue from where we left off in March and fight for that top spot.
“Carl is hopeful of keeping almost all of last season’s squad and he has his eye on one or two new faces too.”
Full details on how match days will be for supporters are still to be confirmed, but it will likely involve increased sanitation and social distancing measures.
Melvin continued: “It won’t quite be football at Butlin Road as we know it as there will be a number of measures we have to implement to make sure everyone can enjoy their match day whilst keeping as safe as possible in the current climate.
“We’ve been working hard to get prepared for the return of football and there is still a lot of work for us to do to make sure we are ready.”
The latest developments mean the club are now able to announce their full pre-season schedule which kicks off with that trip to Midland Football League side Gresley, with another MFL outfit – Highgate United – set to visit Butlin Road four days later.
Town also have home friendlies in the pipeline against higher level opposition, with Southern League Premier Barwell and a yet to be confirmed opponent set to visit, with away fixtures at Southern League Division One Bedworth and UCL Division One’s St Andrews completing the planned six-game schedule.
Whilst the current guidelines specify all friendly matches will be played behind closed doors, the club will provide updates on this should the situation change.
Pre-season friendly schedule: Tuesday, August 11 – Gresley (A) 7.30pm; Saturday, August 15 – Highgate United (H) 3pm; Tuesday, August 18 – TBC (H) 7.30pm; Saturday, August 22 – St Andrews (A) 3pm; Tuesday, August 25 – Barwell (H) 7.30pm; Saturday, August 29 – Bedworth (A) 3pm.