Castle pleased with a point at Thurrock

CITY boss Steve Castle felt Saturday s 0-0 draw at high-flying Thurrock was a fair result describing it as a good team effort . The result extended City s unbeaten run to three games and gave them seven points from their three games last week leaving the

CITY boss Steve Castle felt Saturday's 0-0 draw at high-flying Thurrock was a fair result describing it as a 'good team effort'.

The result extended City's unbeaten run to three games and gave them seven points from their three games last week leaving the camp happy with their efforts.

"We shook things up a little bit, we changed people back into maybe more familiar roles and we've asked a few things from our older players," said Castle afterwards.

"It was a good team effort, on a horrendous pitch that was a bit of a leveller both ways. It was going to be a game of who made the fewest mistakes, I would say there could be an argument for us edging it and there could be an argument for them edging it.

"We had that free kick that was very, very close and James Lindie got something on it and on another day that was in. They've had a couple of chances as well, yes we can rue a little bit of bad luck but in general I think the draw was a fair result."

James Quilter, so often overlooked for his efforts, was City's star performer despite looking like he'll need an operation on his injured knees and Castle was full of praise for his defensive unit, particularly make-shift left-back Ross Dedman.

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"I made James (Quilter) my Man of the Match I thought he did excellently and I thought Mark Peters did excellently.

"Peter Smith had to come off and Ross Dedman never stops amazing me. Not only is he not a right back, he's not a centre half, he's a midfield player and I've thrown him in at left back. I bet he wonders what's happening to him, but he's a good all round footballer and he's adapted well."

Smith's withdrawal on Saturday was the result of illness and Castle is hoping to have his first choice left-back available for Saturday's trip to Staines Town.

"Hopefully he'll be fine for Saturday with no problems," said Castle.

"He just wasn't at the races as simple as that, he didn't feel well from the first minute and he did well to last half a game. It did stretch us with Adam Everitt, who is a recognised left-back, not involved but it was an opportunity for Ross which he took."

The City boss is also sweating on the fitness of striker Gary Cohen who continues to struggle with an ankle injury.

"Gary's got a swollen ankle that just hasn't really righted itself. He tried to give it a go on Tuesday (against Maidenhead) but didn't feel a 100 per cent with it. I had to really make the decision to leave him out and hopefully we'll have him for Saturday."

Saturday's trip to Wheatsheaf Park is then closely followed by the long trip to Havant & Waterlooville on Monday night.

Staines will provide a stern test for Castle's troops having snuck into the play-offs from out of nowhere.

Staines' last defeat came to Newport on December 19 and since then Steve Cordery's side have won six and drawn two games taking them from 14th to 5th in the process.

"It'd be great if we could get an away win out of those two. That's a big ask but the defence is - I don't want to say it too quickly - looking tight and looking like it's got an awful lot of competition there.

"Mark (Peters) I think is worth a mention. Bless him, he's 36 and didn't want to be playing week in week out and he's had three games in a week. His hamstrings are hanging off but we want people like Ryan Frater, Adam Everitt and James Quilter's pushed himself in the frame as our two centre halves."

City have signed former Southend United midfielder Peggy Lokando on Conference South forms but Castle has warned the youngster that he'll have to be patient for his opportunity.

"Peggy is going to be in and around," he said.

"I give it a wry grin because adding another one he's going to have to be patient for his opportunity because it's going to be quite difficult to sustain that amount of people and keep them happy both in the team and financially.

"It's just a part and parcel of what we're doing but it would be nice to get him involved and it's competition for Jake Beecroft who'll be going back (to Rushden) in week's time.