Boss keen to keep pressure off players as St Albans City close in on a play-off berth

Sam Merson wheels away after scoring for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Sam Merson wheels away after scoring for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

St Albans City head into the final six games of the season with their play-off hopes in their own hands – but Ian Allinson is refusing to put pressure on his young team.

Victory over Braintree Town at Clarence Park was their fourth in a row in National League South and keeps them fourth in the table, six points inside the cut-off zone.

They are also closing in on the teams above them which would bring one less game in their hunt for promotion.

But the Saints boss wants to take the expectation off his side.

He said: “It’s in our hands but we’ll take each game as it comes; I’m not putting these boys under pressure.

“It would be great if we got in there at the end of the season, it will be great for the club and it would be great for these players.

“Lets just concentrate on Whitehawk on Saturday. They are fighting for their lives and Steve [King] has put a good side together and if we don’t approach it right, we’ll have a tough game.”

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The success over Braintree wasn’t without its trials and tribulations and, as seems to be the norm these days when City are in action, it wasn’t decided until the last few minutes.

Allinson says the credit for that belongs to the players.

He said: “The one thing with these boys is they don’t give up. They’ve got a fantastic energy about them and they’re probably the fittest group we’ve worked with in terms of lasting 90 minutes.

“We believe if we’re still in games inside the last 20 minutes we’ve got a chance of getting something out of it.

“All four games in this run have shown this. Credit to the players because they have trained hard and there is a great commitment about them.”

There was also praise for two-goal hero Sam Merson.

Allinson said: “That’s what Sam is like. When he’s hot, he’s very hot and when he goes cold we have to move him around and drop him out some times.

“He’s had a chest infection and that laid him low for two weeks but it was the right decision to play him today.

“We were too far away from him in the first half but we got a lot closer in the second and put balls into him from different angles.

“That’s where he becomes a pest and causes teams problems, looking to get across defenders.”