City hoping to sign loanee Ward
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City are making a play to acquire Tom Ward from Skrill North side Gainsborough Trinity, according to joint manager Graham Golds.
Ward has been on loan at Clarence Park since November 20 and has helped the Saints to the best defensive record during that time, conceding just two goals in the league.
Joint managers Golds and James Gray have been so impressed with the 23-year-old that they have opened negotiations to sign the defender.
“Tom is the player we were missing at the start of the season. He is no-nonsense when he needs to be, he can play the ball and he is very strong on the air, plus he loves keeping clean sheets,” Golds told the Herts Ad.
“We like what we see and he is really enjoying it with us so we’re in negotiations to keep him.”
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Since pulling on a Saints shirt, Ward has kept five clean sheets in his seven games in all competitions, shoring up a defence that, Golds admitted, was shipping too many goals at the start of the campaign.
“From the start of the season it was a real bugbear of ours,” he said.
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“We were scoring goals but shipping them just as quick. We needed to tighten up but we never had a consistent centre-back pairing put five or six games together because Ben Martin was injured and then Darren Locke got suspended.
“Tom has been outstanding since coming here and it’s no coincidence that he has been involved in games where we haven’t conceded.”
Golds added that the performances of full-backs Howard Hall and Lee Chappell have been integral in the team’s defensive upturn.
Hall, who signed from Hendon during pre-season, missed out on the opening day loss against Poole before coming in for the 2-0 win against Hungerford.
He really announced his arrival at Clarence Park in the 6-1 FA Cup victory against Enfield Town. Hall was superb going forward and defensively on the day, and capped his performance with a great goal.
“Howard came in after the Poole game and his first five games were outstanding. After that I think a bit of complacency crept in and Danny Green took his place.
“Since he’s come back into the side he’s done really well again; having someone over his shoulder trying to take his shirt has helped him.”
A former Wealdstone player, Chappell, on the other hand, has been one of City’s most consistent players since taking Layne Eadie’s place at left back, and one of the top signings of the season.
“Chappell has been outstanding; he loves going forward and he’s very good defensively, too.”
City also have Darren Locke and James Kaloczi in the squad, both of whom were excellent in the absence of Martin and Ryan Wharton.
One blow to the side as they prepare for a busy slate of fixtures over the Christmas period is the absence of Ram Marwa.
Golds called the midfielder’s unavailability a “massive loss” but with the defensive unit playing as well as they are, City will be confident of covering until his return in the new year.