Stylish pre-season boosts the boss's confidence that this could finally be Saints' year
PUBLISHED: 06:37 03 August 2019
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While he wouldn't be drawn on giving a definitive prediction a positive pre-season has given St Albans City manager Ian Allinson a very noticeable air of confidence going into the new National League South campaign.
The last two years have seen Saints storm out of the blocks before slipping away and missing out on the end-of-season play-offs on the final day.
But three wins and three draws from their seven pre-season friendlies have boosted the belief of the Clarence Park boss.
He said: "My first goal over the last few years has always been to try and get a play-off place.
"Well, I've always said that the most important thing is not to be relegated," he quickly added with a smile, "but you have to be realistic when you start a season.
"You hope your squad is where you want it to be and I'm pleased with the personnel we've brought in.
"As a group they have knitted together very well and they've got a real good work ethic, which is so important at this level.
"We want to get off to a good start. If we don't it's about not panicking and encouraging the players not to be frightened on the ball.
"It's going to be tough with Chippenham, Dartford and then Dulwich so we need the squad to be confident on the ball.
"And hopefully we haven't used up all our good luck but two of the goals we scored against Watford and Barnet have been two of the best I've seen in a long time."
And for those who have seen the opening fixtures of the year, there is also a noticeable difference in the style of football that should be on display, epitomised certainly by that goal against Barnet which involved a number of one-touch passes in a tight area before being swept in by Darren Foxley from just outside the area.
Allinson said: "I felt we played a lot of good football in the first half of last season but we lost our way when David Noble got injured.
"We went from back to front very quickly and that was because we didn't replace David until Scotty Shulton came in.
"This is not being disrespectful to the players who were in there but they weren't as technically gifted as David or Scott.
"A couple of the players we've brought in are good players so it lends itself to us playing slightly different."