Two professional clubs heading to Clarence Park as Saints announce pre-season games

James Kaloczi of St Albans City FC and Danny Newton of Stevenage

St Albans City's James Kaloczi battles with Danny Newton during Stevenage's last visit to Clarence Park in July 2019. - Credit: DANNY LOO/TGS PHOTO

St Albans City have announced their line-up for pre-season - with two professional sides at Clarence Park and one visit to see an old friend.

Stevenage and Watford will both visit Clarence Park in July, with National League Wealdstone also heading to City.

The old friend comes in the shape of Sam Merson and his Hanworth Villa side, with Saints heading there on July 24.

Other games includes the now traditional Allinson derby, playing Lee Allinson's Hendon, Kings Langley and a double-header against Bedford Town and AFC Dunstable.

It all starts on July 10 at Spartan South Midlands League Arlesey Town with the nine-date, 10-game programme finishing on August 7 at Cheshunt. 

Manager Ian Allinson believes the structure will give them the best possible chance to replicate the good form of last year as they prepare another assault on promotion from National League South.

He said: "We learned from what we did last season when we played Wealdstone, Sutton and King’s Lynn. 

"They gave us a good basis to go into the season but this year we’ve gone a little bit earlier with [the bigger clubs] but we finish with Hendon and Cheshunt which will be two tough games. 

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"For me though they are more realistic fixtures. 

"If you go into playing a pro side just before the start of the season it becomes a bit [difficult] with them having a lot of possession and us doing a lot of work. 

"We need to do some work with the ball as well."

The Hanworth Villa match is not only a chance for team-mates and fans to see Merson again though, with Allinson saying the Combined Counties League Premier Division outfit, who excelled in last year's FA Vase will be a difficult test.

The City boss said: "I’ve got to know Simon Haughney, the manager down there, quite well and they were unlucky in the FA Vase, getting to the last 16 and going out on pens. 

"That will be a good test for us, they have got a good side. They are playing Woking and Hampton in pre-season as well. 

"It also gives us a bit of a break between the Wealdstone and Watford games. I didn’t want to have three tough games with pro sides or National League sides in a row."

The busiest day of pre-season will come on July 31 with two St Albans squads playing games at the same time, against Southern League Division One Central sides Bedford Town and AFC Dunstable.

"We want to get the whole first-team and the U19s together as a group so they get used to playing together," said Allinson.

"We’ll take two teams and they will be a good mix with 10 first-teamers in each group and five or six of the academy boys. 

"That allows me to get a lot of minutes under the players’ belts with the season just two weeks away."

St Albans City - 2021 pre-season fixtures in full

July 10 - Arlesey Town (away) - 3pm

July 14 - Stevenage (home) - 7.30pm

July 17 - Kings Langley (away) - 3pm

July 20 - Wealdstone (home) - 7.45pm

July 24 - Hanworth Villa (away) - 2pm 

July 27 - Watford (home) - 7.30pm

July 31 - Bedford Town/AFC Dunstable (away) - 3pm

August  3 - Hendon (away) - 7.30pm

August  7 - Cheshunt (away) - 3pm