Being top is 'a good feeling' and Ian Allinson wants even more of them for St Albans City

Ian Allinson, manager of St Albans City, and Tom Bender

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson talks to Tom Bender during the friendly with Stevenage. - Credit: DANNY LOO

Ian Allinson got the taste for the rarefied air at the top of the National League South last season and he liked it.

St Albans City put together a sensational opening 15 games in the curtailed campaign, winning nine of them and losing just once.

It put them firmly in the top few places and was in complete contrast to the season before, the first one affected by the pandemic, where there were at the other end of the standings.

And the boss knows which one he prefers.

Allinson said: "The year when we were in the bottom three all season was tough. It was a lot tougher than it was last year. 

"When you are sitting in a position like we were last year, it is a nice place to be and a good feeling. 

"A lot of that was built around keeping clean sheets and I’ve seen enough to know we have good defenders and good midfielders who will protect them. 

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"When we get into the start of the season, we need to be sharp and ready to go and have a battle with [the other favourites]. 

"If we take our chances [in front of goal], we will be fine."

They will get an early indication of their position in the pecking order of the favourites with an opening match at home to Dartford and then a trip to Dorking Wanderers, both at short odds to win the title.

And the fixture list shows a number of differences to previous years, another plus point for Allinson.

He said: "I think there are only two midweek games in the season, other than bank holidays, Christmas and Easter. 

"But that allows us to train and we can go with a slightly smaller squad because we are not going to have the intensity of games as we have before. 

"It is a tough start in terms of Dartford and Dorking but we get them out of the way nice and early. 

"And we’ll respect the opposition but for me, we have nothing to fear. 

"We have to go and be ourselves and take the game on."