Castle keen to progress

PUBLISHED: 10:41 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle insists his side will be treating Dartford with the utmost respect when the two sides clash in the FA Trophy this Saturday. Dartford compete in the Ryman Premier Division, alongside Harlow Town who knocked the Saints out o

ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle insists his side will be treating Dartford with the utmost respect when the two sides clash in the FA Trophy this Saturday.

Dartford compete in the Ryman Premier Division, alongside Harlow Town who knocked the Saints out of this year's FA Cup and Castle doesn't want to be on the end of another upset.

"We don't have to look too far back to remember how Harlow stopped us in our tracks. We'll be treating it in the same way we do a league match.

"Dartford are an organised side. They are a strong team who like to play football. Their physicality is prominent in their play which is probably more the case in the Ryman Premier than it is in the Conference South. We know we'll have a real battle on our hands."

The Saints have gone eight games unbeaten in the league and Castle wants that to continue this weekend.

"I see every game as an opportunity to win and no one wants to lose. This competition is a nice little revenue earner for the club and I was reminded that in the not so distant past the club made it to the semi finals. We'll be giving the game as much enthusiasm and respect as the competition deserves."

Jonathan Hunt's troublesome hamstring is the main injury concern for Castle ahead of Saturday's game, after the winger limped off during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hayes & Yeading United. Castle said: "He had no problems at all at the start of the game and we thought we'd rectified that, but we can't keep having it. It might just be that he rests it and gets it right before he comes back again."

Saturday's game saw Castle able to name a strong looking bench which he believes can only be a good thing for the team. He said: "The bench looked very strong. Arguably they are all first-team players. That's what I told the lot that had the starting places and they know that, they're not silly. You've got Bradley Gray who doesn't want to be on the bench, Adam Everitt, Alex Bailey and Hassan Sulaiman, who are all good first-team players. It makes for competition, which has got to be the case if you want to be successful."

The Saints boss was pleased with his side's performance, despite seeing Paul Hakim's opener cancelled out with just five minutes remaining. Castle reserved special praise for Ben Martin after the captain produced another assured performance at the back. He said: "Ben Martin was awesome. The lad has been absolutely fantastic for the whole of the season. He's one hell of a player. The big question mark with Ben is his fitness and how many games we're going to get out of him. Thankfully at this moment in time I've never seen him looking fitter and looking so sharp."

THE St Albans City Supporters Club are running a coach to City's game at Braintree Town on Saturday November 29.

With engineering works taking place between Liverpool Street and Stratford, it's expected that there will severe disruption on railway services to Braintree. As there are only a limited number of seats on the coach, it is advised to book as early as possible. Anyone wishing to travel on the coach to Braintree should contact either Ian Bangs on 01727 812557/07733 381874 or Peter Knock on 01727 847484. Prices are £13 for adult supporters club members and £8 for juniors.

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