Castle secures Hunt prize
FORMER Premier League midfielder Jonathan Hunt has signed for St Albans City after a long spell out of the game. Hunt previously appeared once for Saints in a 2-2 draw at Hendon in August 1990. He went on to establish himself at Southend United and Birmin
FORMER Premier League midfielder Jonathan Hunt has signed for St Albans City after a long spell out of the game.
Hunt previously appeared once for Saints in a 2-2 draw at Hendon in August 1990. He went on to establish himself at Southend United and Birmingham City before earning a £500,000 switch to Premier League Derby County. The 36-year-old trained with the City squad on Tuesday but he is short of match fitness and is not expected to feature at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday.
Striker Simon Martin has signed a contract with City to turn his loan agreement into a permanent deal. Martin agreed terms with the chairman during the week and will be available to continue his partnership with Lee Clarke when Saints attempt to deal a blow to surprise title chasers Eastbourne.
The club are seeking international clearance for striker Wasiu Akanni Sunday after his work permit was approved.
On Saturday, Saints showed great fighting spirit to emerge from a gruelling clash with Play-Off hopefuls Newport County with a point. Castle was delighted with the attitude of his team. He said: "We are fighting for our lives and fighting for every point gained. We will take that and go on to Eastbourne Borough. We need to be taking at least a point and if I have a clean sheet from now until the end of the season I know I have got enough going forward to win games. We are obviously nursing people back in like Paul Hakim who is getting back to full fitness, he did well. Simon Martin had a cracking chance before half time and Lee Clarke worked his socks off. On another day both the strikers could have got themselves a goal each."
Castle unleashed tenacious teenager Luke Thurlbourne signed on a four-week work experience deal from Southend United. The midfielder slotted straight in with a battling display that epitomised the spirit shown by the City side as they bid to escape their predicament. Castle said: "Luke has come in and, with Dean Cracknell unavailable due to illness, it was forced on us to throw him straight in and he did well. He showed what we want at this level."
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City defender Hasim Deen was absent on Saturday with a dead leg sustained in the Setanta Shield defeat against Aldershot. He will be presented with his City Supporters Club Player of the Month award for January when Saints host Bishop's Stortford on Tuesday at Clarence Park. James Edwards will hand the prize to the former Stevenage Borough defender.
Centre back Ryan Frater earned the Man of the Match prize for his dominant and rugged display against County. Castle praised his defence for repelling the threat from the visitors. He said: "It was a massive improvement in the defending from Tuesday (against Aldershot). The two centre backs wanted to put their heads on everything, they were excellent and the full backs as well. We looked very solid at the back and I was pleased that we kept a clean sheet. I asked Scott Cousins and Jomo Faal-Thomas at full back to do a bit unfamiliar jobs for them which they did well. I think at the stage we are at I have got to say it was a point gained, although we had the better chances and Nick Eyre hasn't had a save to make."
l St Albans City reserves were defeated 6-2 by a strong Ware outfit featuring many first-team regulars in the Capital League at Clarence Park on Tuesday.
Former Arsenal youngster Hassan Sulaiman scored twice for Saints and fellow first teamers Marcel McKie and Paul Bruce also featured in the match.