Preview: St Albans City vs Concord Rangers

Steve Wales in action against Concord Rangers. Picture: Leigh Page

Steve Wales in action against Concord Rangers. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

St Albans City will be hoping a little German magic will help them overcome Concord Rangers in the Vanarama Conference South on Saturday.

A contingent of fans from Worms – St Albans’ twin city – is making the pilgrimage to Clarence Park for the first time this season after Saints supporters made the reverse trip back in August.

Wormatia Worms won 2-0 against FK Pirmasens with City fans in the stands, and now the club is hoping for the same inspiration from its German guests.

While keeping a clean sheet would certainly be welcome, to not concede an early goal must be top of the agenda on Saturday against Danny Cowley’s side. In the last two games – at home against Boreham Wood and Hadley – the Saints conceded in the third and 17th minute. It’s an advantage they can’t afford to give the side that knocked them out of the FA Cup.

“We can’t give teams a foot up, especially one like Concord Rangers who will shut up shop like they did last time,” said joint manager James Gray.

“I’ve seen enough to know that one our day we’ll match them, and if we can get a return for goals for the amount of possession and shots we have then we have a good chance of getting three points.”

He added: “It’ll be a tough game; Concord are hard to beat and they’re close to us in the league.”

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James Comley could return to action after a two-week lay-off with an injured hamstring. He had a 45-minute cameo in Tuesday’s Herts Senior Cup win, and is now getting ready for Concord.

The captain featured in the narrow 1-0 FA Cup loss and knows, that if City play to their potential, then they can avenge the loss.

“You know what you’re getting with Concord – they work hard,” said Comley. “A few years ago they might be a hard working team that didn’t offer much else, but now they have quality and they still hard working.

“We felt the last game was tight; it could have gone either way. If we work hard and let our quality come through then it’s up to us what happens. Hopefully we’ll get the win.”

Joe Welch could be back in contention but considering his injury – inflammation around his heart – City might not risk it and opt for Tom Coulton in goal.

Ian Gayle looks set to partner either Darren Locke, if he’s fit, or Omar Beckles at the heart of defence, with Lee Chappell and Howard Hall, who should start his third league game in a row in place of John Kyriacou, as full-backs.

In midfield, expect Charlie Smith and Steve Wales on the wings with Sam Corcoran and Charlie Gorman in the middle. If Locke is given the green light, Beckles could sit in front of the back four, leaving John Frendo, fresh off his two-goal outing against Hadley, to lead the charge up top.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 3pm.