Gray refuses to over-spend the club into trouble for on-field results

St Albans City Football Club

St Albans City Football Club - Credit: Archant

St Albans City has money to spend on new signings but the club isn’t going to go beyond its means in an attempt to arrest the downturn in form that has seen them pick up one point from four games.

Joint manager James Gray revealed to Saintsnet that he missed out on signing two new players this week as he looks to address a “lack of quality” in the squad. The unknown pair are the latest in a string of players to turn down a move to Clarence Park due to their financial demands.

“We’ve got a budget we can work with but we’re not going to put ourselves into a position we can’t afford,” he said. “We don’t want to get into arrears and debt we can’t manage so we have to find a player for the right price and who wants to be here, rather than just picking up a cheque.

“We have money to spend but it has to be right player – someone who will add to the group.”

So far this season, Gray and Graham Golds have utilised the loan market extremely well, bringing in the likes of Charlie Smith from Luton and Sean Shields from Dagenham and Redbridge. They have also been smart with their signings, adding Hornchurch defending Omar Beckles and former Stevenage striker Cameron Lancaster.

The stream of loan players has seemingly dried up for the time being – Daggers’ defender Ian Gayle is the only loanee in the squad – leaving the squad thin on the ground. And injuries to Joe Welch, James Comley, John Frendo and David Keenleyside have whittled it down even further.

Gray, though, remains confident that things will turn around.

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“We missed out on a couple of signings but hopefully we’ll have a couple in before the Gosport game,” he said. “Things may start turning [in our favour]. We got boys back from injury and hopefully we can get the squad back and kick on again.

“Expectations have been high this season but there’s 10, 12, 14, 15 teams with bigger wage structures than us so we’re punching above our weight.

He added: “We’ve had good times at the club, seeing it to promotion last season and we took the pats on the back and the plaudits, but it’s tough this year. We’ve asked the boys to stick together, dig in and, as a club, we’ll be all right again.

“No one expected us to be up there at this time in the season but need to kick on and not be in a relegation battle. It’s tough but we’ll find a way. Trust me.”