Locke on Gayle: 'I'm going to miss him'

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 February 2015 | UPDATED: 15:25 18 February 2015

Darren Locke shows his frustration after Stuart Moore denies him. Picture: Leigh Page

Darren Locke shows his frustration after Stuart Moore denies him. Picture: Leigh Page

Archant

Darren Locke will feel Ian Gayle's departure more than most.

The pair have formed a formidable centre-half partnership in the last two months of Gayle’s loan from Dagenham and Redbridge.

While nine points from the 10 games they have lined up together aren’t stellar numbers, two wins and a draw from last five outings tells the bigger picture of a growing understanding between Locke and Gayle.

The partnership is over for now, though, after Gayle played his last game for St Albans on Saturday.

“I’m going to miss him. It’s been a pleasure to play alongside him and I wish him all the best in the future,” he said.

“He’s been outstanding from the minute he came to the club. We’ve built up a good understanding over the past few weeks so it’s a big loss but Omar was brought in to be a centre-half and I have no doubt he can fill in and possibly do an even better job.”

Just as Ben Martin’s departure thrust Ward into a regular starting role, Gayle’s will push Omar Beckles, the former Hornchurch defender, into the limelight.

Locke is confident Beckles will thrive and is looking forward to building a budding partnership over the last 11 games of the season.

“We’ve played a couple of games together and we’ve had a good understanding. We’ll take that forward and build a good foundation for the end of the season and I look forward to playing with him next year.

“The aim for me and him is to get as many clean sheets as we can, build a solid foundation and push on for next year.”

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