Castle wants improvement despite win

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle says his side will have to improve their level of performance if they want to extend their interest in the FA Cup despite the club’s first victory in the competition for five years.

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle says his side will have to improve their level of performance if they want to extend their interest in the FA Cup despite the club’s first victory in the competition for five years.

The Saints brushed aside Kent Premier Division side Beckenham Town 3-1 at Clarence Park on Saturday but Castle was far from happy with his side’s display.

“We’ll take the result, we are all about results,” Castle said afterwards.

“We’ve played an awful lot better, a hell of a lot better and drawn games so we’ll go into the next round and get our performance levels up.”

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The victory not only set up another home tie, with Ryman Premier Division side Kingstonian, but also provided the club with a financial boost in the shape of the �4,500 prize money. A lot had been made of the importance of the prize money in the build up to the game and Castle was unsure whether that pressure may have affected the players.

“I don’t know whether there was too much pressure on the boys,” he explained.

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“They knew about it (the prize money), they’ve known about it for a long, long while. I for one have not mentioned it, I’ve said lets just have a bit of fun and lets just take this as far as we can.

“We’ve got to get our performances better than that if we want to progress but we’ll take that and whoever we get we’ll look forward to the next round.

“Five years, that’s a long time really, because when we come in on it we are the top graded team at the level and we haven’t won a game. That’s not a good stat to have, we’ve changed that and hopefully we can have a lot better performance and an encouraging one in the next round.”

French striker Jean-Michel Sigere got the Saints off to a good start on Saturday netting his second goal in two games and Castle believes the club’s younger players can learn a lot from the experienced front man.

“Jean-Michel Sigere had an opportunity, he hasn’t hit it well but he’s got it on target,” said the City boss.

“Really a lot of the youngsters should take that on board because when shots and crosses are not in the right areas we’re not going to score from them

“Our job for the rest of the team is to get the ball in there (the box) on a regular basis with as much quality on as possible.”

Saturday saw club captain Ryan Frater make his 100th appearance for the club since signing from Hertfordshire neighbours Hitchin Town in December 2007. Frater has established himself as a regular in the Saints starting XI and Castle paid tribute to the service his captain has given the club.

“It got mentioned to me during the week that it was his 100th game,” added the City manager.

“He’s been a fantastic servant, he’s club captain and he enjoys that responsibility. He’s another one who I’d like to have a little bit of belief in himself. Ryan, if he can keep himself injury free can be a real asset to the team.”

It’s Hertfordshire derby time at Clarence Park on Saturday with Bishop’s Stortford the visitors.

City hope to have defender Ben Martin and winger Hassan Sulaiman available after the pair missed the Beckenham game through injury though the club is unsure how long they will be without Inih Effiong.

“I’d like to think that Hassan will probably be involved in the next week or so,” revealed Castle.

“Ben pretty much the same, he’s going to be coming back into training.

“Inih’s a bit of a mystery really, he’s not quite ready for training but there’s no bruising and there’s no swelling on the knee so hopefully he won’t be long either.”

* The Saints City Trust have teamed up with bus company Uno to promote City’s forthcoming home games.

Posters displaying the club’s home games will be displayed on the company’s busses on routes throughout the district. The scheme started last week with the FA Cup tie with Beckenham Town.

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