Queens Park Rangers defender joins City ranks alongside Ralph and O’Leary
Trio sign on at Clarence Park
ST ALBANS City boss David Howell has moved to arrest the club’s recent slump in form with a trio of new arrivals, all of whom go straight into the squad for Saturday’s league clash with Evesham United.
The Saints’ poor run continued this week with defeats to Oxford City and Hemel Hempstead Town, a run that has seen them win just one of their last 11 games and that has forced Howell to reassess his squad.
Joining from Premier League newboys Queens Park Rangers is 19-year-old right-back Michael Harriman while Nathan Ralph returns from Peterborough United after a successful spell earlier in the season.
The final new face is Chris O’Leary who moves to Clarence Park from Wealdstone where he was teammates with Saints’ defender James Gray.
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Harriman and Ralph both joins the Saints on an initial one-month loan while O’Leary is on a longer agreement and City boss Howell is pleased with their capture.
“The three are what we need at the moment, in the areas we need them,” said Howell.
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“They are bringing us a mixture of youth and experience, quality and character.”
Irishman Harriman made his Premier League debut off the substitutes’ bench in the Rs’ defeat at Wigan Athletic back in August.
“We have been lucky to get him,” said Howell. “I am grateful to Neil Warnock for agreeing to him coming here.”
Ralph meanwhile saw his initial spell with the Saints come to an end when he was called back to London Road to provide cover for the first team and Howell had no hesitation in taking the 18-year-old defender, pictured right, back on loan when the opportunity arose.
“Nathan showed that he is more than good enough for this level and I am looking for him to repeat his performances of when he was with us before,” added Howell.
Midfielder O’Leary arrives at Clarence Park from Ryman Premier Division side Wealdstone, where he was a former Player of the Season, and Howell hopes his arrival will add some steel to the middle of the park.
“He is someone who rolls up his sleeves and battles, which is what we want right now,” explained Howell.
One player who has headed out of Clarence Park this week is midfielder Nathan Haisley. The former Banbury captain leaves the club after nine appearances and no goals and City boss Howell says there will be more players to follow.
“I am well aware of what we need to do to turn things around, both in terms of new personnel and in instilling different attitudes into the team,” added the manager.
“The lads who have come on loan are here to give us breathing space while we release certain players and recruit more ready for the busy Christmas and New Year period and a move up the table.”
Kosi Ntlhe’s loan spell with the club came to an end last week and he has returned to Peterborough United to fight for a place in Darren Ferguson’s first team squad.