Saints aim to outmanoeuvre Rooks

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ONE win in the last 23 league matches is not a stat you’d want to be associated with and St Albans City will have to improve on that if they are to avoid falling into the bottom three at Lewes on Saturday.

THE LOWDOWN: Lewes narrowly avoided relegation from Conference South last season as a 2-1 win over Hampton & Richmond Borough on the final day of the season secured their safety.

This season has continued to be a struggle for the Sussex side but the appointment of former Croydon Athletic boss Tim O’Shea has raised optimism and the Rooks look to be on the up despite a 1-0 defeat to Bishop’s Stortford in their last outing.

THE MANAGER: Tim O’Shea has only been in the Rooks hotseat since late October. Since then the manager has garnered four points from three games including an impressive 3-0 win away at Weston-super-Mare last Saturday.

O’Shea has been joined in Sussex by Neil Smith who he worked with at both Grays Athletic and Croydon.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Forward Tom Murphy is the Rooks top scorer this season with four goals to his name.

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The youngster, who was released in the summer after two years with League 2 side Gillingham, grabbed two goals from his advanced role on the right hand side in the Rooks’ 3-0 win at Weston on Saturday.

LAST TIME: The two sides shared a 0-0 draw at the Dripping Pan when they last met in April.

TEAM NEWS: Saints boss Steve Castle will have Pelayo Gomez available for Saturday’s game despite initial fears that he would be required by parent club Brentford.

Leyton Orient youngster Chris Benjamin, who like Gomez is available to the club on work experience, could also feature for the Saints as they look to revive their fortunes in front of goal.

Pete Smith looks set to overcome the pelvis injury he sustained in Tuesday night’s game with Farnborough to take his place at left-back while winger Dave Hutton will be hoping for a recall after being dropped for the Farnborough game.

The home side will have to do without Simon Wormull, Dave Wheeler and Lewis Hamilton who are injured but could hand a first start to new signing Ben Godfrey after the ex-Croydon striker linked up with his former boss again at the Dripping Pan.

For those of you who are unable to make it to the Dripping Pan, you can keep up with the action via our CITYLIVE service which will start at around 3pm.