City gear up for Lewes

City boss wants a ‘solid performance’

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle says his side must concentrate on putting in a solid display when they travel to Lewes on Saturday.

Despite being only a third of the way through the season, Saturday’s trip to the Dripping Pan has the look of a real ‘six-pointer’ as a defeat in Sussex will plunge the Saints into the relegation zone at the expense of their hosts.

After Saturday’s 6-0 humbling at Welling United the Saints turned in an improved performance against Farnborough on Tuesday night but that still wasn’t enough to prevent another defeat which only intensified the gloom at Clarence Park.

“It’s a big game against a very good team,” Castle said of Saturday’s trip to Lewes.

“I know they’re down there with us but I did speak before a Conference Youth game with Eastleigh manager Ian Baird. I said ‘who’s the best team’ and he said Lewes so we’ll certainly go down there with the greatest respect for them. For us we’ve just got to try and put a solid performance in and hopefully things will turn in front of goal for us.”

Castle was pleased with his players’ response to Saturday’s defeat at Welling.

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“I think it’s been well documented, the embarrassment I felt (after Welling).

“That was portrayed to the players both collectively and individually and I told them in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t acceptable.

“I was looking for a response and I got one.”

City boss Castle bolstered his squad with the addition of Hector Mackie. The midfielder rejoins the club from Bath City.

“He was on non-contract so we’ve signed him,” explained Castle.

“We’d like to keep him but that will depend on them money side of things.

“He is living in Bath so it is a bit of a trek for him to get down but he is committed, he is a very fit boy and he trains everyday with either Bath City or the university team so there are no problems.

“He’s got a soft spot for the football club and he wants to play for me which is half the battle.”

Mackie’s return has signalled the end of Robbie Martin’s time at Clarence Park with the former Braintree man the latest player to be released by the Saints and Castle hasn’t ruled out more changes as he looks to improve the fortunes of his side.

“Rob Martin’s had to go. I’d like a seasoned centre forward but they cost money. I’ve been trying to get people.

“Pelayo Gomez costs me nothing but I think Brentford want him on Saturday which is a blow.

“There’s a limited budget we’ve got. We’re overloaded with lads that are defenders and midfielders but quite thin up top.”

Ross Dedman made his first start of the season and impressed at right back against Farnborough while Ben Martin made a welcome return from injury much to the delight of Castle.

“Ben is such a strong player, if we can keep him fit that will be a real benefit to us,” said the City boss.

“He’s got to maintain his fitness levels and make sure he keeps himself as trim as possible because he’s going to have to play a big part.”

Turning his attention to Dedman Castle added: “We’ve had a few conversations Ross and I, he missed out completely on pre-season which just put him back.

“He hasn’t performed particularly very well when he has come on as a sub, albeit that’s a very, very hard thing to do, and after a heavy a defeat if he wasn’t going to get in (the team) then he was never going to get in. He’s come in and really grabbed the opportunity with both hands and fair play to him.”

Adam Everitt has joined Hassan Sulaiman in the treatment room and missed the Farnborough match while Pete Smith limped out of the contest after colliding with Boro full-back Jay Conroy.