St Albans City ‘raring to go’ in the Bishop’s Stortford return

Harry Crawford gets behind the Stortford defense on Boxing Day. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Harry Crawford gets behind the Stortford defense on Boxing Day. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

Harry Wheeler has said his St Albans City side are “raring to go” as they look for redemption against Bishop’s Stortford.

Saints lost 2-1 to their Hertfordshire rivals on Boxing Day at a boggy Woodside Park and the caretaker boss knows that the Clarence Park pitch will be a different proposition altogether tomorrow (Saturday).

He said: “There are no excuses. I gave them one with the pitch after Boxing Day but I’ve told them there’s no excuses on Saturday.

“The players are raring to go. They felt hard done by and that the result wasn’t the right one [on Boxing Day] and if the game was tomorrow our lads would jump at it.

“We’ve got to come out and put them to the sword quickly.”

Wheeler was speaking after the 1-1 draw with Chelmsford City on Monday, a result which keeps Saints in the bottom three of the Vanarama National League South.

It was the fifth league game under his stewardship but he is happy with the way things are going and knows two wins will lift them comfortably into mid-table.

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He said: “We’ve had one loss in five games so that’s not a bad start. We would have taken that before but when you get into it, your expectations get bigger.

“We’ve got to keep it realistic but we’re heading in the right way.”

He is also pleased with the way his squad have reacted since he took temporary charge of team affairs.

He added: “The players have said the performance was good but the result wasn’t good enough.

“And that’s their standards now and that’s what I expected.

“To be fair I’m disappointed we didn’t win. Some of them said it felt like a loss and I can understand that.

“It makes Saturday even more important now and something to play for and when we’ve got something to play for, we step it up.”

The boss had surprised many by choosing to start with Kevin Krans and the on-loan Peterborough striker Jonathan Edwards against Chelmsford, instead of top-scorer Louie Theophanous and Harry Crawford.

And Wheeler says that was all to do with putting his money where his mouth is.

He said: “I’m all about giving people opportunities and players live on hope and want to get their chance.

“Kevin has been waiting patiently and Jonathan Edwards kept asking when was he going to get a start.

“So I wanted to give them a chance and show faith in them because if I keep saying to you we’ve got a good squad but then I’m not playing them, then I’m not really doing what I’m saying.

“So I’m giving them a demonstration that I do think our squad is that good and I didn’t think we looked any weaker.

“I thought we had a lot of energy out there and then you’re bringing players on like Louie and Harry and it shows the quality of the squad is really good at the moment.

“And we’ve got to show faith in all of them because they are all really good.”

Wheeler revealed that the squad would train this week, despite the closeness of the New Year celebrations, as they look to start 2016 with a bang.