Preview: ‘Underdog’ Saints out to shock Bromley at Fortress Stadium

Lee Chappell returns to action on Saturday after serving a three-game ban. Picture: Bob Walkley

Lee Chappell returns to action on Saturday after serving a three-game ban. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

St Albans City will be heavy underdogs when they visit Bromley on Saturday, according to joint manager James Gray.

The teams drew 2-2 when they met at Clarence Park on September 8 but Mark Goldberg’s side are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run, which includes just one draw.

The Lilywhites’ form has seen them jump up to second in the Vanarama Conference South table, so Gray is expecting a “tough” game.

“They’ve won their last four games so it’s not going to be easy. They’ll look to get the ball on the ground and play passing football so we will have to get in their face,” he said.

The Saints have fared better against passing teams – wins against Basingstoke and Havant and Waterlooville are testament to the fact – so Gray believes his team can shock Bromley.

“We’re looking forward to it because we do well against sides that want to get the ball down and match us,” he said.

“In the first meeting, we tried to bombard them with big players, but we’ve changed personnel since then. We’ll watch them play and try to counteract what they do well.”

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From the outside looking in, it’s been a tough week off the pitch for St Albans after captain Ben Martin announced his move to Conference South rivals Boreham Wood. Inside the camp, Gray said they’re “ticking along nicely.”

“We know ourselves that we’ve had some indifferent performances but we’ve also matched some of the best teams. We’ve got some momentum after our wins over Bath City and Kings Langley and we’re in a good place heading into the Bromley game.

St Albans will be buoyed by the return of Lee Chappell, from suspension, and David Keenleyside, who has missed time due to an ankle injury.

Defensively, the Saints could opt to partner Omar Beckles with Ian Gayle at the heart of the defence in the wake of Martin’s exit, and Darren Locke only just back from injury.

The midfield will need to be reshuffled as Charlie Gorman and Steve Wales both start a three-game suspension on Saturday. James Comley, the club’s new captain, will most likely start alongside Sam Corcoran in the middle with Nathan Green and Charlie Smith on the flanks.

If St Albans opted to play John Frendo up front by himself, then Danny Green could start his first league game since September as part of a five-man midfield. If not, Frendo and new signing Cameron Lancaster could get the chance to continue to craft their striking partnership.