Gray heaps praise on teenage sensation

St Albans City joint manager James Gray. Picture: Bob Walkley

St Albans City joint manager James Gray. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

Boss delighted with the Saints’ response following loss at Bishop’s Stortford three weeks ago

Joint manager James Gray heaped praise on his teenage sensation Jack Green after he fired St Albans City to victory in the final home game of the season.

The Saints kept faith with Green in the centre of midfield and it worked out perfectly as the 17-year-old poked home the only goal of the game, in the 22nd minute, in today’s 1-0 win over Ebbsfleet United at Clarence Park.

Ebbsfleet have a rumoured weekly wage bill of £22,000, topped by Danny Kedwell who they signed from Gillingham, but the match-winner was Green. And he hasn’t cost the Saints a penny.

“He defies his age,” beamed Gray. “He’s running around with lads who have played professional football and experienced non-league players and he doesn’t look out of place. To get the winner against a side that pays all that money, I hope to God he stays and we can progress him.”

Gray revealed he has opened talks with Green and his parents about next season and is hopeful of a deal.

As for the rest of the squad, nothing is concrete but the manager is keen to retain every players, especially after three wins on the bounce against top Vanarama Conference South sides. After a terrible performance in a 2-1 loss at Bishop’s Stortford, the Saints have beaten Eastbourne Borough, Gosport Borough and now Ebbsfleet.

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“It’s been a good reaction since Stortford,” said Gray. “I’m pleased to get one over on Jamie [Day, Ebbsfleet manager] and his all-conquering team. It shows where we can go if we keep the squad together, which will be difficult.

“A lot of the players have got other clubs chasing them and whether financially we can keep hold of them, I’m not sure. But I’m pleased to finish the season on a high and hopefully we’ll retain the squad.”

He added: “Today was the culmination of the last two games. We looked solid at the back and there were outstanding performances from individuals. We go into the Hayes and Yeading game in really good form.”