Saints giving entire squad a chance to earn a place in next season’s side

John Kyriacou powers past Stuart Lewis. Picture: Leigh Page

John Kyriacou powers past Stuart Lewis. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

Every member of St Albans City’s current squad will have a chance to earn a place in next year’s team, according to joint manager James Gray.

The Saints are heading towards a mid-table finish in the Vanarama Conference South in their first year back in the league on the back of a strong finish to the season - they have won three successive games against Eastbourne Borough, Gosport Borough and Ebbsfleet United.

While the Saints have dazzled at times, they have been terrible at others and will need additions to the squad if they are to compete for a play-off place next season. With the club’s current financial standing, that means some players will be surplus to requirement.

Gray, however, wants to give every player a chance to prove their worth over pre-season.

“We’ll come back fresh after the season and invite the whole squad back. If they finish the season [with a win at Hayes and Yeading], then I don’t need to make wholesale changes because, on our day, we can match and beat the best sides in the league,” he said.

“The consistency needs to be better but we’re getting better at that. As the squad goes, I’m happy with every single player and if we can’t improve it, then I’m happy with what we’ve got.”

This season has been a steep learning curve for St Albans, with the vast majority of the squad and the managers having never played in the Conference South before.

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Gray admitted he is just getting to grips with the level, and now the season is almost over.

“Me and Graham [Golds, joint manager] feel like we’ve, not nailed it, but learned so much that we can put that into action. We feel we’re just about getting it right and the season is over,” he said.

“Next season is going to be a tough, tough season. The side coming into it are going to make the league better. There will be stronger teams so we’ll need to be in better shape for next season.”