Allinson preparing for tough and busy start to Saints’ year as games come thick and fast

Tom Bender will miss St Albans City's opening two games of the National League South season. Picture

Tom Bender will miss St Albans City's opening two games of the National League South season. Picture: TGS PHOTO - Credit: Danny Loo/TGS Photo

Ian Allinson has set himself plenty of homework for St Albans City’s “tough start” to the new National League South season.

Chippenham Town arrive on Saturday for the opening fixture before Saints travel to Dartford and Dulwich Hamlet.

The games continue to come thick and fast with a total of 10 in the opening six weeks.

And with pre-season bringing a certain amount of the unknown regarding the strengths and weaknesses of Saints' opposition, Allinson says it is vital they plan and prepare correctly in a week finally devoid of matches.

"It is important to get two good sessions into the boys," he said. "I know Chippenham have signed David Pratt from Wealdstone and I think they'll be very much like last season.

"We'll do our homework this week and see what players they've got and the style of football they play and work on that in training.

"Dartford have made some good signings and they will be strong. They get a good following and it's the same with Dulwich.

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"We're under no illusions that it's going to be a tough start and if we're not quite ready we'll come away dropping points.

"And it's important to get as many points as early as we can, we've proved that in the last few years."

Right-back Joe Howe is definitely out of the Chippenham game due to a pre-planned holiday while Tom Bender will miss both Chippenham and Dartford contests thanks to a suspension carried over from last year.

And with a question-mark over the fitness of midfielder Scott Shulton, the City boss has purposefully kept his squad large.

That though brings different problems with selection dilemmas in a number of positions ahead of the opening game.

Allinson believes Saturday's final pre-season game with Barnet helped in that regard.

He said: "It gives me some sort of idea of what we're looking at. We've got David Noble coming back and when he came on he settled everything down.

"But we need to make a choice in terms of right-back and who we go with in midfield.

"If Scott is fit then that gives me a different option as to how we play in midfield.

"We've got good options but we probably need one more forward and I need to speak to Albert Adu.

"I like Albert. He's come in and done a nice little job for us."