Effiong future unclear

Farnborough deal falls through

THE future of St Albans City striker Inih Effiong is no closer to being resolved after his proposed move to Farnborough broke down after interest from Boreham Wood.

The Saints had agreed a fee with Farnborough for Effiong’s services but the striker was unable to agree terms with Boro boss Garry Haylock and has since turned out for Boreham Wood - against City boss David Howell’s wishes - in their friendlies with Billericay Town on Saturday and Potters Bar on Tuesday night, a game in which Effiong scored Wood’s first goal.

The Saints are yet to receive an offer from Boreham Wood for the 19-year-old who has a year to run on his St Albans City contract.

“That’s been a saga and a half,” explained Howell after seeing his side record their first win in Tuesday’s match with Royston Town.

“Inih was in the middle of a deal with Farnborough having spent two weeks there training and I think he enjoyed the full-time training and I think Garry Haylock would have been a good person to help bring his game on.

“But for some reason he went and played at the weekend for Boreham Wood despite me speaking to Ian Allinson (Boreham Wood manager) beforehand… when he mentioned that he would be playing Inih. I said ‘you can’t play Inih, he’s in the middle of a deal with Farnborough’ and I was disappointed he went ahead and played him at Billericay for 90 minutes.

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“I’m disappointed with the whole saga, in a way I feel like I have to apologise to Farnborough for his behaviour, he hasn’t really conducted himself in a professional manner but these lads are young, they make their decisions and they have to walk the path they choose. What will happen with the situation with Inih is now not in my hands I’m afraid and I’ll leave that to the chairman.”

The Effiong saga is a disappointing distraction in what has been a good week for the club. The Saints have begun to assemble their squad for the forthcoming Southern Premier Division campaign with Sol Shields, Sean Shields, Matt Cutchey, Ryan Moran, David Ijaha, Joackim Ehui, Jerome Walker, Danny Hart and Ross Dedman joining Rob Haworth in signing forms with the club.

Tuesday’s victory over Royston came courtesy of two goals from Hart and provided City with their first clean sheet but it was the performance of Sol Shields that really impressed City boss Howell.

“Danny Hart was a bit fortuitous with his first goal but he took his second goal well and that’s what he’s good at,” said Howell.

“He’s good at dead balls and he strikes the ball incredibly well but for me he was outplayed, despite him getting both our goals tonight, by Sol. I think he covered every blade of grass and he led by example. Alongside him in the first half, young Marvin (Alebiosu) is another player that was given a chance for me to have a closer look. He was just someone who was recommended to me by Mark Bright.

“People, not necessarily trust in my judgement, but know I’ll give them a fair chance and fair opportunity to see if they have anything to offer at this level.”

The Saints are at Aylesbury this Saturday before returning to Clarence Park to take on Peterborough United on Tuesday (KO 7.45pm).

Posh boss Darren Ferguson confirmed on Tuesday night that he will bring his first team squad to Clarence Park for the game giving Saints fans the chance to see the likes of Scotland international George Boyd, Nicky Ajose, a recent recruit from Manchester United, and flying winger Tommy Rowe up close.

These two friendlies will give Howell the opportunity to look at more trialists as he looks to add the finishing touches to his squad with the boss still in the market for a striker and a defender.

“At the moment we’re looking for a striker – people down the middle – and possibly a centre-back as well. These games are really for me to bring people in, have a look, see if they fit into the masterplan so to speak and if that’s the case then it just helps to get a tighter ship come the 13th when we look to put the first XI out there and try to get the three points.”