Castle thanks loanees

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle paid tribute to the efforts of his three loan signings as they come to the end of their stay at Clarence Park. Castle is hoping to extend Jake Beecroft s stay from Rushden & Diamonds but popular duo Jonathan O Donnell and

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle paid tribute to the efforts of his three loan signings as they come to the end of their stay at Clarence Park.

Castle is hoping to extend Jake Beecroft's stay from Rushden & Diamonds but popular duo Jonathan O'Donnell and Godfrey Poku will both return to neighbours Luton Town after their deals expired following Monday night's 1-0 win at Havant & Waterlooville and Castle was full of praise for the commitment they've shown the Saints.

"He (Beecroft) doesn't know it yet but I would love to keep him for another month," Castle told the Herts Advertiser after Monday night's win.

"Godfrey Poku will go back, Jonathan O'Donnell will go back which brings it down just that little bit on budgets.

"We'll miss Godfrey, JJ's been very unlucky but we've got him when two or three lads have come to the fore - Ian Dunn, people like Chris Sullivan and James Lindie - when we needed people who'd put the ball in the back of the net," continued the City boss.

"It's given me a ltitle bit of a choice and that's nice. Hopefully we can keep Jake - but all three of them on behalf of the football club I would thank them and wish them all the best with their futures because they're good honest lads who've put their heart and soul in every time they've played for the football club."

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After struggling for goals for most of the season, the Saints have hit four goals in their last two outings, with strikers Dunn, Gary Cohen and Drew Roberts all getting in on the act and Castle says the competition the new players have added has helped the existing players lift their levels of performance.

"We've struggled to get goals and Ian Dunn's come in and he does look like a poacher and likes to be in and around the box," added Castle.

"People like Drew Roberts, if he wants to stay in the team, and if Gary Cohen wants to stay in the team their level of performance has got to go up because we haven't scored goals and when you do get a little bit of competition that's when we hopefully get it right up front."

It's not just leading the line where there is fierce competition.

At the other end of the pitch City have four centre halves battling it out for two places and with all four impressing in recent weeks Castle has a real selection dilemma on his hands.

The City boss plumped for Adam Everitt and Ryan Frater at Havant and the duo responded with an outstanding display.

"No dis-service to James Quilter and Mark Peters. Yes we let four goals in (at Staines) but it certainly wasn't a case that those two in particular were to blame, it was two games in three days.

"Adam with his hernia would struggle to play two games in that amount of time and Mark with his age would struggle as well.

"It would be great if we could have all four available fighting for two places."

The performance at Havant was one that really caught the eye with every City player playing their part.

"The battling performance was the thing that was paramount in our performance," commented Castle.

"It (the pitch) wasn't conducive to good football but we tried to play, and I always say to them try to realistically play.

When the pitch is as bad as this, and your trying to put things into the midfield, trying to put things into the front two it is a bit unrealistic but we just about got that balance right.

Jon McDonald's Rory Delap-like throw-ins threatened to cause City all end of problems but the defence saw off the threat and as a result Havant ran out of ideas.

"They've got a hell of a weapon in that throw that we had to contend with but we did," said Castle.

We tired to eliminate as many throws as possible but anywhere in the final third, he's throwing it in with an unbelievable trajectory on it but we dealt with that well. The one real moment of quality in and around the box was from Drew Roberts and he's put the ball in the net and that's very, very pleasing.