Posh workout pleases Howell

ST ALBANS City boss David Howell felt Monday night’s friendly with Peterborough United provided his players with a useful opportunity to get some game time under their belts.

Howell used 25 players in the 3-1 defeat as he continues to look for ways to improve his squad and with key players like goalkeeper Nick Jupp and defender Ryan Moran facing suspensions, the City boss was pleased to have the opportunity to look at possible replacements.

“As an exercise it was good for the players to get minutes under their belt, starting with the goalkeepers,” Howell told the Herts Advertiser.

“Nick’s got a suspension so it was important to give him 45 minutes to keep him ticking over and then give 45 minutes to the goalkeeper, Will (Viner), who I’m looking to play on Saturday.

“It was better than training and Peterborough put out a strong side so it was a good test for us.”

The Saints entertain Redditch United this Saturday looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to basement side Swindon Supermarine and Howell says it is time his players put a run of results together after an inconsistent start to the campaign.

“We haven’t strung a run of performances together yet,” admitted Howell.

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“When we’ve had a bad result we’ve bounced back well but then we haven’t continued that. We’ve got some important games coming up - home games against Redditch and then the league leaders (AFC Totton) next Tuesday - and we’ve got to look to get some consistency into our game.”

One player Howell will have to do without is striker Brian Haule who is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a blow to the head whilst scoring the Saints’ goal against Peterborough.

“He was slightly concussed but I thought he was putting it on because I wasn’t happy with some of the things he’d done in the first half,” explained Howell.

“He took his goal well but I wasn’t happy that the ball kept bouncing off him and I told him at half-time but the physio (Sam Backhouse) said ‘Owsy he doesn’t know what you’re on about’.

“It shows how much I know though because he had to go to hospital and have X-rays because he was still feeling dizzy and he was there until the early hours of the morning. He’s ok but he won’t be around for a while.”

* City will play Berkhamsted in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round following The Comrades’ 1-0 win over Haringey Borough at the weekend.

The tie will be played at Clarence Park on Saturday, September 17.

* St Albans City Reserves made it back-to-back victories with a 2-0 defeat of Crawley Green at Clarence Park on Saturday.

Fielding a strong XI that included James Bent and back-up goalkeeper Will Viner the Saints made a strong start and were rewarded with the opening goal on 25 minutes.

City won the ball deep in their own half before playing it forward to Dom Petrucci. The centre forward cut inside from the left wing and exchanged passes with Nick Chrysanthou before confidently beating the oncoming Crawley Green stopper.

It was a fine team goal and Petrucci’s 10th strike in just six games in Division One this season.

The home side continued to enjoy the upper hand after the interval and with just over 20 minutes remaining they grabbed a second.

Substitute Richard Maton immediately got involved in a move that ended with player/coach Alexis Nicolas firing home from 12 yards.

Assistant manager Dan Manzi told the club’s website: “That was an important win for the team, especially keeping another clean sheet. The games are coming thick and fast now so it’s important that we remain disciplined and consistent.”

* City will be holding a Fans’ Forum in the Saints Bar on Thursday, September 15 (7.30pm).

This event is open to all supporters and will allow fans to put questions to co-owner Lawrence Levy, chairman Ian Ridley and manager David Howell (after first team training).