Castle hoping for repeat of Staines performance

City boss looking to build momentum ahead of important league fixtures

MANAGER Steve Castle is hoping his St Albans City side can repeat their FA Trophy heroics from the previous round when they take on Dorchester Town in the First Round on Saturday.

The Saints brushed aside Staines Town in convincing manner in the Third Qualifying Round, which was also their last action before the big freeze, and Castle is hopeful his side can repeat that level of performance despite the disruption to training caused by the weather.

“It’s been frustrating but we’ve managed to get a couple of sessions in on the Astroturf and hopefully we’ll get in a full session to prepare for Dorchester on Saturday,” Castle told the Herts Advertiser.

The City boss admitted his disappointment in not being able to build on any momentum generated by the Staines victory following two successive weekends without a game.

“It’s been frustrating but everyone you talk to has been in the same boat,” said Castle.

“It’s disappointing because the manner of the Staines win was convincing but it’s given us time to get players like Ben Martin and James Fisher back to some sort of fitness.”

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The Saints slipped to the bottom of the Blue Square Bet South table on Tuesday night without playing a game as their bitter rivals Boreham Wood beat Weston-super-Mare 6-3 to move above them and while Castle admits that the league is the club’s priority, the City boss is hoping his side can use this Saturday’s FA Trophy tie to build some momentum.

“We’ve got an important game in the Trophy this weekend,” explained Castle.

“We’re in a bad position in the league and everybody is aware of that.

“The league is our priority but hopefully we can use Saturday like the Staines game and take the pressure off.”

Castle will have on-loan Woking striker Ollie Palmer available on Saturday and also hopes to have Leyton Orient youngster Chris Benjamin at his disposal but the City manager will have to do without Adam Everitt who is still waiting to complete his two-match ban following the last two weeks’ postponements.

“I’d like to keep the same side as Staines but obviously Adam Everitt is out through suspension so there will have to be one change,” said Castle.

“That however gives an opportunity to someone like James Fisher, Rob Magwood, Ross Dedman or Adam Martin to come in and impress.”

The Saints’ opponents on Saturday, Dorchester, are on a good run at present winning six of their last eight games, a run that has dragged them up into mid-table in Blue Square Bet South.

“They’re on a good run and they’ve managed to pull themselves up the table,” explained Castle.

“I was very impressed with them at the back end of last season even though we got the win.

“They’ve got a terrific manager in Ashley Vickers who is well known to all St Albans fans and they will be given the greatest respect.

“However we have to go there in a positive mood and if we can repeat the performance we put in against Staines we will have a good chance.”

The Saints have bolstered their ranks with the signing of former Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City midfielder Nick Chrysanthou.

The club is still awaiting international clearance for their new signing after his spell playing in Cyprus and are unsure whether it will come through or not before Saturday’s game.

“Nick is an ex-college kid who has done the rounds as a youngster at Tottenham and other Premier League clubs,” revealed Castle.

“He’s been on trial at Leeds and Barnet recently but wants first team football and has come down to show what he can do.

“He is a midfield player who keeps the ball well and he will be given his opportunity in due time.”

n The Saints’ home league game with Dorchester Town, which was postponed last Saturday, will now take place on Tuesday, January 18, while the Eastleigh clash has been rearranged for Tuesday, January 25.