Narrow win proves fringe players need more playing time says St Albans boss

PUBLISHED: 10:33 13 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:33 13 January 2016

Jack Green is put under pressure by the Hadley defence. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Jack Green is put under pressure by the Hadley defence. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Robert Walkley

St Albans City’s caretaker manager Harry Wheeler says the narrow win over Hadley in the Herts Senior Cup confirmed what he already knew – he has a good squad but some need more playing time.

The Vanarama National League South side left it late to claim a 2-1 win over the Spartan South Midlands League outfit but Wheeler felt that was down to a few players being “rusty” due to lack of playing time.

He said: “Of course we expected to win. I told them at half-time it wasn’t good enough.

“I think some of them thought we’d put a friendly on for them. It wasn’t a friendly, it was a game we wanted to win and a cup we want to do well in.

“I did see a reaction but with the players we had on show, I expected to win.

“I thought Jack Green was very good, again. I thought Scott Thomas did his job, again and Harry Crawford can cause problems.

“It shows that these people need to be playing games and we need to keep the repetition of getting them fit.

“Recently we’ve played a lot of the same side.

“So we know that these lads that are sitting on the bench regularly need to be playing more games and we’re going to have to arrange more to get friendlies because we can’t have them needing 45 minutes to get warm in a league game.”

He also said the lack of game time was the cause of a number of bookings for dissent.

He went on: “There’s a lot of frustration with players not playing much. When it wasn’t going well early on they took it out on the ref rather than put into their own performance.

“It improved second half but they are frustrated and rightly so.

“I wouldn’t expect them to be happy being here if they’re not playing. They want to be playing and they’re not.

“They just need to channel [the frustration] better.”

He praised goalscorer Harry Crawford saying it should give him a confidence boost and was pleased with the performance of the five youth team players included in the squad.

He added: “Five youth team players played, the players who needed 90 minutes got 90 minutes and we got through to the next round.

“I’d have taken that before the game.”

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