St Albans City boss Howell plots promotion push
BOSS David Howell is aiming to keep the majority of his St Albans City squad for next season as he looks to plot a return to the Blue Square Bet South.
Saints finished the 2011/12 campaign on Saturday in eighth position of the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division, in what was his first campaign in charge.
The early part of the term saw Howell rebuild the playing staff and results were inconsistent, however the second part saw a much more steady return as the side climbed the table and only just missed out on the play-off places.
At a Saints fans forum, prior to the final game, Howell gave his view of the season.
He said: “The first half we were a bit indifferent.
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“From Cirencester in the first game to Barwell [the 20th match] we were very hit or miss.
“The next 20 matches, which were Hitchin away until Cirencester, we lost only a couple of matches, at Weymouth where I thought we should have done better and at home to Bedford which we threw away in the last 10 minutes.
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“We got something like 22 points from the first 20 matches and we doubled that from the second 20 matches.”
Planning for 2012/13 is already well underway.
“I’ll be looking to keep the nucleus of the players,” said the former Harrow Borough manager.
“I’m looking to build and add to that and hoping for a much better start to the season than we had this season.
“The expectation level has risen because of the second half of the season not only for the supporters but for the players too, they will be expecting to produce and perform at the beginning of the season to put us in a better position than we found ourselves at Christmas.”
Howell knows the kind of footballer that he is after to mount a promotion challenge.
“At this stage I’m looking for a group of players that want to be playing football here for more than just financial reasons.
“I’m looking to put together a team that are all here for the right reasons and to get us out of this league and put us in the position to get us out of the league as quickly as possible next season.”
There is a real opportunity for the club’s Allied Counties Youth League East Division title winning side to stake a claim for a first team squad place.
“We have got what is probably one of the best youth teams in the area and I’ll be looking for them to progress, to make some improvements and push to get into the squad,” he added.
However, he also believes The Saints can attract more experienced players from higher divisions.
“Because we had a good second half of the season there are players that wouldn’t necessarily have put St Albans at the top of their list to come and play for after what has happened in the past, but that has changed.
“How I’m looking to sell it to any players that would be looking to come down from Conference South sides is that we are a Conference South club.
“We are looking to get back there as soon as possible and I’m looking for players that can deal with that pressure of being expected to win and beat everybody every week whoever it is.”
City’s pre-season training starts at the end of June.