Saints boss reflects on Barnet and Luton Town games

ST ALBANS City boss David Howell was satisfied with the performance of his side as they fell to a 2-0 friendly defeat to Blue Square Bet Premier promotion hopefuls Luton Town on Monday night.

The Saints were determined to put on a better show for that game than the display which saw them thumped 10-2 by League Two’s Barnet on Saturday.

After opening the pre-season campaign with the tough two fixtures against full-time professional clubs, Howell said: “We would have preferred some easier matches to start with to get the lads in the groove, into the swing of things, but we got thrown in the deep end.

“Having said that against Luton, who are a good side, they have a good chance of getting promotion back into the Football League, it was a good test for the team and I thought they stood up to it well.

“With Barnet I think everything they hit went in, in the first half they must have had eight or nine chances and scored six of them.

“It was a tough, difficult pill to swallow.”

Howell, a former Barnet player, said: “As I said to the players it is very early in pre-season and we were probably about two weeks behind Barnet.

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“We took the match early because it was the only date they had and the same with the Luton fixture.

“We had two tough games in three days and they’re our first two matches, if you rule out the Belarus friendly.

“While the lads have been training and working hard it’s completely different fitness from match fitness.”

In each clash the Saints handed game time to more than 20 players as they look to determine their squad which will hope to challenge for Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division promotion.

Howell was much more positive about the performance he witnessed against The Hatters.

“It was pleasing to see the lads bounce back again tonight [Monday] I thought we actually finished stronger, once the changes were made,” he said.

“On Saturday I used about 20 players and again tonight [Monday] I used 22-23 players, the players are getting close to the fitness that we are going to require, but they will only get that with matches.”

St Albans City are away at Enfield on Saturday and then host a Watford XI at Clarence Park on Wednesday night, kick-off 7.45pm.