David Noble confirmed that Shaun Jeffers will be featuring for St Albans City in pre-season - despite the hotshot centre forward playing no part in Saints’ pre-season opener against Cambridge United.

Jeffers was at Clarence Park and part of the warm-up but was not named on the team sheet as the League One side ran out 3-1 winners.

However, Noble was quick to stop any panic among Saints fans by saying it was all part of the plan.

"I was looking at the two strikers," said the boss. "We had two on trial so they had 45 [minutes] each. He [Jeffers] understands, but yeah, he’ll be featuring."

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He only has four more games to go before the new National League South season kicks off with the visit of Weymouth on August 5.

But having just five friendlies, far less than was standard under predecessor Ian Allinson, was a deliberately chosen tactic according to Noble.

He said: "We need time on the training pitch, there are things to work on. We want to get that working. It’s difficult to try things in games without having training sessions."

With numerous new faces joining the club over the off-season, the work done by Noble and his coaching staff during those sessions will be critical to Saints’ chances of getting off to a good start, particularly with a tough-looking fixture list during August.

"You’re looking for combinations," remarked Noble. "I’m getting answers when I’m watching these games. Every action someone takes, I’m getting a bit of information about what they can do and what they can’t."

And he was happy with the way the game went, one of the City trialists cancelling a Harrison Dunk opener for the visitors, who only won with two goals in the last eight minutes. 

"I was quite pleased,” observed Noble of the performance. "I wanted to see people basically.

"There were some good bits, there were some bad bits, as there is going to be. It’s our first competitive game against a League One side that were good.

"I thought we did well. I thought we matched them in periods. It was good for me to see things."

More than anything, Noble looked relieved to be back focusing on matters on the pitch after a turbulent summer of arrivals and departures.

"I haven’t enjoyed it," he admitted. "I think if you ask any manager they’ll tell you the same.

"All the managers that I’ve spoken to say that the off-season is a difficult period, and it is. I’ve found that out.

"All these things are firsts for me. My first off-season window, my first bit of recruitment, my first instances of people leaving me for better deals, or bigger clubs.

"It’s frustrating but you’ve just got to get on it with it. I’ll do the best that I can for this club."

Next up for Saints is another home game on Tuesday when National League Maidenhead United visit Clarence Park. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.