Castle backs Inih to improve

City boss believes striker’s hard work will reap rewards

CITY boss Steve Castle believes striker Inih Effiong will continue to impress if he maintains the hard work he has put in during pre-season.

The club moved quickly to tie the striker to a contract at Clarence Park this week, a reward for his fine form in front of goal since the team returned from the summer break, and Castle was keen to praise the striker’s willingness to improve.

“Inih’s done absolutely fantastic for a young lad who’s come through the college scheme and our college scheme I hasten to add,” Castle said after Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw with Basingstoke.

“He went off to Boreham Wood and didn’t quite get his first team opportunities. He’s getting his opportunity here, goals keeps him in the team, it’s as simple as that. He knows that and he’s a great lad. He really is working his socks off and trying and there was a cry of exasperation when he came off because he knew that was a goal there but if he keeps on showing that willingness to do well he’s not going to go far wrong.

“I think he’s going to have peaks and troughs like any young lad who’s learning the game but what one of his main, most vital ingredients is that he has got that ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Obviously inclusive of pre-season he’s got three or four already.”

Heavy rain early in the match made conditions during Tuesday night’s draw tough and Castle felt the weather ensured the game wasn’t one to live long in the memory for spectators.

Most Read

“I think it probably, as a spectacle, ruined it,” commented the City boss.

“We started reasonably brightly and it seemed to make it very, very hard for everybody to control the ball. There were lads who were saying how heavy their actual shirts were, because it was literally a monsoon.”

Basingstoke looked like a capable side, despite failing to really test Paul Bastock in his 200th league game for the club.

“They were decent, and they got a few men behind the ball,” added Castle.

“On the break they looked reasonably dangerous but we were just saying, in that second half Baz (Paul Bastock) hasn’t had one real shot to save.

“It didn’t quite go how we wanted it to. We’re always talking about this quality in the final third, I think every team in the country’s looking for more of that. We’ve got some good players, sometimes we make things a little bit too hard for ourselves and we make things a little bit too complicated which I’ve just told them.

“They’re good honest lads and they give everything. I don’t think Drew Roberts stopped for one moment, he really worked his socks off and Inih Effiong’s got to be nursed through at times because of his hamstrings.

“There were a lot of positives to take out of it, we were a goal away from just calming down and securing that victory but it didn’t quite come.”

Castle added a third Martin to his squad this week when Adam joined Robbie and Ben (no relation) after completing his switch from neighbours Hemel Hempstead Town as the Saints boss looks to bolster his options in the middle of the park.

“We needed him, he’s got to force his way into the team and he hasn’t done himself any harm by coming on and showing how strong he is,” he said.

City welcome early season leaders Braintree Town to Clarence Park on Saturday in what looks set to be a stern test for the home side. Braintree have a 100 per cent record so far and have plundered six goals without conceding in their two outings.

“They’re a very good outfit, they’ll be a very strong team,” said Castle.

“I don’t really think there’s going to be too many, what they would class as easy games really.

“We’re kicking ourselves from Saturday that we didn’t get the full three points but that’s done and dusted. I thought Basingstoke were a reasonable outfit even though we could’ve won the game and I can see a similar story on Saturday.”