Castle hopeful on familiar faces

City boss hoping to have Ben Martin and Hassan Sulaiman on board for Thurrock trip

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle hopes to have former favourites Ben Martin and Hassan Sulaiman on board for the club’s opening game of the season against Thurrock on Saturday.

Both Martin and Sulaiman are without clubs at the moment and Castle is keen to get them involved when City travel to Thurrock on Saturday but the City boss stressed any deals are subject to the budget.

“We’ve had a couple of regular faces back in the fold in Ben Martin and Hassan Suliaman and hopefully we can get them involved money permitting,” Castle told the Herts Advertiser.

“We’ve not got the easiest of starts in the world but then I don’t think there are many easy games this year.

“If we can get some results together and get some people through the door then the wheels start to move in the right direction.”

City get the new Blue Square Bet South campaign underway at Ship Lane on Saturday against a side that surprised many last year. Fleet boss Hakan Hayrettin led his side to a tenth placed finish and has managed to hold onto the majority of his squad as well as adding striker Cliff Akurang. Castle feels Thurrock will again provide a stern test but believes his side can take heart from their results against the same opposition last year.

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“They’ve got the same group of players and are very strong and very direct,” he explained.

“They don’t mess around in their own half either but we did well against them and took four from a possible six points.

“We’ve made a few personnel changes up top and bought in some quality like Robbie Martin which is always good.”

Blue Square Bet South has a competitive look to it this season with newboys Dartford and Farnborough both able to boast decent budgets and Ebbsfleet able to call on decent Blue Square Premier experience.

“You’ve got Dartford, Farnborough and Ebbsfleet coming in and then you’ve got the ones already in the league like Woking, Dover and even the likes of Eastleigh who have all got good backing and a firm budget,” added Castle.

“We’re certainly not looking for mid-table mediocrity again, we’ve got to be positive. We’ve got to look at the results we got at Woking, Dover and Bath who got promoted, they’re all recent and were good results.”