Saints back to business

Saints boss delighted to see key players stay loyal

SAINTS boss Steve Castle was delighted to see a number of familiar faces report back when pre-season training began on Monday night.

Key first team players Ryan Frater, James Fisher, Pete Smith, Adam Everitt, Ross Dedman and Rob Magwood were all present at the session at Oaklands College which featured over 30 players hoping to earn themselves a place in Castle’s squad this season.

“We had quite a few familiar faces at training, lads that have stayed faithful to the club and to me. That’s great and that makes a solid backbone of a team,” Castle told the Herts Advertiser.

“The issue we have got is trying to get a 20 or 30 goal striker and that costs money. We’ll have to duck and dive a bit but we’ve got lots of trialists on board and we’ll have to try and sort something out.”

Everitt underwent a hernia operation last month in a bid to cure the problems he was hit with last season and Castle is relishing having a fit Adam Everitt to call upon.

“Adam, he really is the life and soul of everything,” explained the City boss.

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“He is a great person to have in the dressing room and that’s without talking about his defensive qualities. People underestimate the importance of those type of guys but having been in football a long time I know they are a necessity to a team. Their willingness to go and win games is vital and Adam is always willing to go that extra mile.

“He’s also got qualities at set plays and is a solid defender and although he wasn’t fully fit last season his performances were excellent.”

Castle is also expecting assistant manager Mark Peters to continue on the playing front in a similar capacity to last season.

“I think it’ll be similar to last season,” said Castle. “I think we’re a better team with Mark on the pitch but, and he won’t like me saying this, he’s nearer 35 than 40 and he got lots of miles on the clock!

“He’s a good old fashioned centre-half though and he’s got the admiration of the lads as a player and as an assistant manager.”

The Saints get back to action next Friday when they welcome Leyton Orient to Clarence Park before taking on Watford at home 24 hours later and although Castle admits the games are starting sooner than he would have liked he still believes they’ll provide a valuable workout for the players.

“It’s arguably a little too soon (to start) but when you’re dealing with League clubs they set the dates not us,” explained Castle.

“We’ll deal with it. What it will be is a good fitness session for us and I’ll say to the lads there will be no judgements on performances in those games.”