Preview: Play-off spots in sight
PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 January 2014
St Albans City can jump into the play-off spots on Saturday with a win over Chippenham Town, but they’ll need other results go their way.
The Saints are currently seventh in the league, two places off the play-off spots, but only two points off fourth placed Stourbridge. A win at Hardenhuish Park on Saturday, plus losses or draws for Bideford and Poole, will see James Gray and Graham Golds’ side into the top five.
With Bideford hosting league leaders Hemel Hempstead and Poole travelling to St Neots Town, City have a good chance to leapfrog both teams if they can beat a Chippenham side that hasn’t won in the league since November 19.
The Saints will travel with a close to full-strength squad – only Chris Henry (suspended) and Tom Ward (injured) are unavailable – so they will be confident of picking up three points.
Mark Collier’s team will be no push-over, though. Striker Alan Griffen has scored 12 league goals, two behind John Frendo, and his forward partner Tom Knighton has chipped in with five so they have goals in them.
However, the Bluebirds have suffered a similar problem to City this season: they haven’t had many goals from other players, something they will need to address against a stingy Saints defence that is set to get even better with the return of Ram Marwa.
His presence has been missed in the last four games so his return, plus the current form of Ben Martin, Lee Chappell, Howard Hall and Darren Locke could make life difficult for Griffen and Knighton if Chippenham can’t find goals from elsewhere.
City will also have a chance to rectify the same issue against one the league’s most porous defences – Chippenham have conceded 57 goals in 23 games.
Gray and Golds will be looking for the likes of James Comley and David Keenleyside, in particular, to impose themselves higher up the pitch after both scored against Frome.
Up front for City, the aforementioned Frendo scored in the 4-0 win over Frome, his first since December 21, so he will be looking to build momentum while the managers will expect Jamal Lowe to keep up his form following his best game for the club since joining on loan form Barnet.
If he keeps his place Mark Nwokeji could be forced to watch from the sidelines but the frontman has goals in him if given the opportunity.
Don’t discount James Kaloczi either. The 18-year-old is City’s second top scorer in the league with five and could be given a place in the starting line-up.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 3pm.