GALLERY: St Albans City’s squad building isn’t finished yet
Plus pictures from Saturday’s 4-1 win over Cirencester Town
NEW St Albans City boss David Howell may have seen his side shoot to the top of the Southern Premier Division table on the opening day of the season but that won’t stop him tinkering with his squad.
The Saints confidently dispatched Cirencester Town 4-1 on Saturday, despite the visitors from Gloucestershire having enough chances to have earned a point, but despite the Saints’ bright start to the new season Howell admits he hasn’t yet got the squad he wants for the season ahead.
“It’s nowhere near complete,” Howell said after Saturday’s victory.
“I made it clear from day one that it was always going to be a work in progress. You can’t put a side together in four weeks, it’s going to be trial and error very similar to what we did in the Rangers (QPR) game and the FC Gabala game.
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“Sometimes you’ve got to look at the bigger picture and for me the bigger picture is to get a squad together to deal with any team, any opposition this season so the squad isn’t finalised by a long way yet.”
Howell felt his side were slow to get going against Cirencester and the Saints had to withstand some heavy pressure early on as Ciren hit the bar and forced young loanee ‘keeper Kyle Merson into action.
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Despite the slow start to the game Howell felt his side did well to capitalise when the chances started to come their way.
Howell explained: “If you look at the game, I think the first 20-25 minutes we were defending our own box let alone our own half but I keep saying to the team that the opposition that we play will never dominate or control the match for 90 minutes; we’ll always get our chances, we’ve got pace so we’ll be able to break and be able to counter-attack so in a way when a team puts that much pressure on us they get a little bit over-confident and I think the lads exposed that and capitalised on it well.
“I think part of our threat will be our wide players and being able to feed the likes of Rob Haworth in the middle and Paul Furlong.
“I’m just pleased with the win, I don’t want to over-analyse the performance. We never started, I thought we were slow and never got going.
“We just had to weather the storm and really just compete and match them. Fortunately they hit the bar and they hit another shot that was saved early by the young ‘keeper but the game evened out and I thought when we were attacking offensively we were well worth the four goals.”
Saints’ fourth goal on Saturday came from veteran striker Paul Furlong’s first touch in a City shirt and Howell was delighted to see his new boy have an instant impact.
“I’ve been trying to get Paul playing for me for ages and he was going to retire and stop and just focus on his coaching but I know he’s still got another season in him comfortably,” said Howell.
“The arrangement we’ve got is he’s only available for weekends, he’s not available for midweek so in a way I’ve got to try and manage it.
“I looked to initially use him as a shield for Rob (Haworth) but then I thought we’ve got this cushion but I don’t want them to get back in the game so we need a bit of experience up top to keep the ball rather than the pace that was causing the trouble. Paul can keep the ball and even showed the pace to finish so I’m very pleased with that.”