‘Still plenty to play for,’ says Gray after FA Cup exit

Sean Shields trying to slide the grip of the Concord defense. Picture: Leigh Page

Sean Shields trying to slide the grip of the Concord defense. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

St Albans City joint manager James Gray believes his side have plenty to play for in the rest of the season.

The Saints fell meekly to fellow Vanarama Conference South side Concord Rangers at home in the final qualifying match before the FA Cup first round in their highest attendance of the season.

Despite this setback, a far from despondent Gray asserts that his team will not be cowed and paid tribute to the outstanding support.

“It’s not all doom and gloom,” said Gray.

“We’ve got to pick ourselves up. We didn’t get battered today or played off the park we just didn’t have enough quality.

“Our focus for the season is now back on the league. We need to be a bit savvier in this league. The sides that we are coming up against are cute and clever so we need to learn quickly.”

“We have got ourselves in a good position in the league and we have got the FA Trophy to look forward to as well so we might get a cup run in that.”

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He added: “The fans were superb. They came out with a big attendance but we didn’t really give them anything to cheer about. We’ve let them down today.”

On a positive note, Sam Corcoran, returning from injury, completed over 30 minutes of play for the Saints and looked sharp.

“He’s got a cracked bone in his foot and it’s not healing properly but we got the green light to play him again now,” said Gray.

“If it doesn’t re-break then he will have an operation. Hopefully he can get through the season and have the operation after then.”

The manager was far from happy however with the absence of their key player John Frendo who was sorely missed.

“It was a massive disappoint. He’s let us down, he’s let me down, he’s let the boys down because he is a talisman for us,” he said.

“It will have given Concord a big boost with him not being on the team sheet. We had to try and recover from that. Lee Clarke has come in and done well. He’s got his chance now and hopefully he can keep it.

“It’s a difficult situation to deal with. Until I sit down with the chairman, we shall see where we go from there.”