Defender Martin hopes to hit play-off high
GIANT defender Ben Martin is hoping St Albans City can reach the lofty heights of the top five next season and make the play-offs in the Blue Square South. Martin, aged 25, returned from injury to make 16 league starts and 22 appearances in total
GIANT defender Ben Martin is hoping St Albans City can reach the lofty heights of the top five next season and make the play-offs in the Blue Square South.
Martin, aged 25, returned from injury to make 16 league starts and 22 appearances in total, playing a key role as City climbed out of the relegation with a sensational run of just one defeat in 11 games to end the campaign. He said: "In a way there was a lot of pressure and it was hard for everyone. I thrive on it personally after being out of the game for so long."
A niggling injury ruled Martin out of the last three matches but he is fully recovered and raring to go ahead of the pre-season campaign which starts with a trip to Welwyn Garden City for a friendly clash on Wednesday, July 9. Martin said: "I cannot wait to get going. I have been reading the Herts Ad and seen that certain players are staying so that is encouraging. I am now hoping - fingers crossed - that I can start next season injury free and we can be looking to get in those play-offs at least. If we keep the same sort of base we can do well. We showed against teams like Lewes and Havant that we have the flair and that little bit of strength and solidness you need."
Martin has made 77 appearances during his time at City, a tally that has been restricted by long spells out with injury. The popular defender, who finished joint third in the Supporters Club vote for Player of the Season in 07/08, said: "I have seen everything in my time here. When I signed we were at the bottom of the league and we got out of it. I got injured and the team got promoted and I then came back in the team for a bit but got injured again when they were in the Conference."
City conceded just three goals in the eight games which Martin played following the signing of star goalkeeper Paul Bastock for a second stint at the club. The back four suddenly transformed into a winning unit and Martin said: "We have got a good understanding. I have known Scott Cousins for ages and James Fisher I feel like I have known all my life. Ryan came from Hitchin and he gets on well with all the lads. He played his part in helping the team get out of trouble."
Manager Steve Castle has outlined his intention to add to the side to ensure a successful campaign in 2008/09 and Martin is fully behind the boss. He said: "Steve Castle brought me to the club and nobody was more pleased for him than me that he led us to safety.