No Christmas panic buys for St Albans City, says Gray

St Albans City are trying to extend Charlie Smith's loan with Luton Town. Picture: Leigh Page

St Albans City are trying to extend Charlie Smith's loan with Luton Town. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

St Albans City joint manager James Gray is not going to “panic buy” more players despite departures, suspensions and a full slate of Christmas fixtures.

The biggest news to come out of the club this week was the surprise exit of Ben Martin. The skipper joined Vanarama Conference South leaders Boreham Wood on Friday.

Coupled with Charlie Gorman and Steve Wales both starting three-game suspensions this weekend, the Saints are seemingly thin in a number of areas, especially centre-back if Gray’s attempts to extend Ian Gayle’s loan is unsuccessful.

Gray is adamant that he won’t just bring in players to make up numbers, even though his team faces five games in 15 days, including Boxing Day and New Year’s Day matches with Hemel Hempstead.

“We’re not going to panic and bring in more players. We’re looking to extend Ian Gayle and Charlie Smith this week, and we’ve got options elsewhere with Lee Chappell, Darren Locke and David Keenleyside back in the squad,” he said.

“We’re trying to get the squad into shape going into Christmas because we have a lot of games.”

While not discounting the possibility of bringing in new players, Gray is confident that he can call on players from the Saints’ younger teams if need be.

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“We’ve got players in the U21 squad that I feel could do a job and I don’t want to impair their development by bringing in someone just to make up numbers,” he told the Herts Ad.

Alex Yearwood and Jack Green look the most likely of the young players to be called upon, especially after impressing Gray in last week’s 2-0 win over Kings Langley in the Herts Senior Cup.

Both were second-half substitutes and Yearwood set up John Frendo for his second goal of the game.

“I thought the young lads were outstanding and didn’t look out of place. They injected a bit of life into us,” he said.

Speaking about Yearwood, he added: “He’s got a great left foot. He’s only slight but he’s nippy and I’ve seen enough to know that he has a decent future in football. I’m not sure what level that will be but he’s definitely got an eye for goal and a good pass in him.”