By Jamie Arrowsmith 24/04 Updated: 24/04 16:28
HAVING seen their Southern League Division One Central play-off hopes further dented on Saturday, Rugby Town will be looking for a vital boost from their two games over the Easter weekend.
Fortunately for Valley, the two teams immediately above them in the table - Uxbridge and Northwood - also both dropped points on Saturday, although Biggleswade’s victory at Aylesbury saw them leapfrog Uxbridge into fifth to occupy the last play-off spot in the process.
However, Town are still only four points adrift of the Waders - who have a tough run-in, including trips to league leaders St. Neots and third-placed Bedworth, as well as hosting both Uxbridge and Northwood. Rugby’s next game sees a trip to Buckinghamshire for a first ever viit to Chalfont St. Peter.
Town will be hoping to complete the double over a side who have drawn their last three league games, after added-on time goals from Luke Keen and Seb Hamilton snatched a 2-1 victory back in December.
Rugby then host local rivals Bedworth at Butlin Road on Easter Monday in a hugely anticipated clash - the 40th between the two clubs since they first met back in 1977. The visitors hold the edge with 15 wins over Valley’s 13.
The Greenbacks look to have secured their involvement in the end of season play-offs despite a stuttering 2012 which has included only one win in their last four games.
Town’s results have been even more disappointing of late though, with Saturday’s 3-3 draw at home to Fleet making it just three points from the last 15 available.
Seb Hamilton will be missing for both Easter games, plus the two that follow, after his recent red card at Beaconsfield.
With both Ross Miller and Michael Williams receiving their marching orders against Fleet, Valley have now received as many reds in their previous two games as they have in the whole of the season prior to that.
Miller and Williams are available for selection against Chalfont and Bedworth though, with their suspensions not kicking in until the trip to North Greenford a week on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Dave Bevan will also be back with the squad for the weekend after he missed the Fleet draw to attend a wedding.
TOWN completed the signing of Sutton Coldfield midfielder Dean Rathbone late last week.
Rathbone joined the Royals from Bedworth at the start of the current season and had featured regularly in their starting line-up - including both matches against Rugby in the FA Trophy last October.
With Rathbone on-board for the remainder of the campaign, fellow midfielder Ben Steane has now left the club.
Steane put in an impressive opening season in 2010-11 at Butlin Road scoring five times in 36 league starts.
However, this time around he has struggled to make the same impression, failing to hit the net in 32 appearances in a Town shirt.
THE club coach to Chalfont will leave the clubhouse at 11am. For more details contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.
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