Striker Clarke ready to fire City up the table
CLUB captain Lee Clarke is confident St Albans City will soon start turning their good play into points in the Blue Square South. The City top scorer has recovered earlier than expected from injury and, after making his return from the subs bench
CLUB captain Lee Clarke is confident St Albans City will soon start turning their good play into points in the Blue Square South.
The City top scorer has recovered earlier than expected from injury and, after making his return from the subs bench at Dorchester Town, is hungry to be involved against Chelmsford City at Clarence Park on Saturday. He said: "I have been training now for a full week and doing bits on my own and I am available for selection. I trained hard on Monday, did a bit extra and had no reaction on my hip. The only way to get the match sharpness back is to be playing in matches.
"I don't think it would be an injustice if we had six or seven points. I don't remember a more one-sided game than the match at Worcester City and if we had won 4-0 I doubt the Worcester manager would have complained. At Dorchester the possession was even but we created the far better chances and could have scored three or four."
Chelmsford City have enjoyed a fine start to the campaign following their promotion, winning two matches and drawing one and striker David Rainford, signed from League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge, netted twice in the 3-0 home win against Fisher. Clarke is looking forward to what should be an exciting clash on Saturday. He said: "They have got in that winning habit and carried that momentum on. Rainford is a good signing for them as he has played at a higher level in the last couple of seasons and is a good player. In this league, every game is a winnable game but that also means every game is a losable game. We have got to be at it from the start."
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The return of just two goals and two points from the three opening fixtures is disappointing for City and Clarke is aware the team must start turning their good spells in matches into winning positions. He said: "Against Worcester City we could have been 5-0 up at half time but we came in 1-0 down. We took the lead early on against Havant but didn't really capitalise on it when we were totally dominating the first half. At Dorchester we took the lead but then three or four minutes later we let them back into it. We are creating lots and lots of chances but just not putting them away. If I am playing up front I expect myself to be scoring goals. I have shown that I am more than capable of scoring 20-25 goals at this level.
"Man for man I think we are better than we were 12 months ago. The togetherness is better and the team unit is better. That is something Steve Castle and Eagle [Andy Edwards] have installed. They brought in a few players and in the last 10 games of last season we saw the rewards of that with the performances on the pitch. The work rate was unbelievable and we were all helping each other on the pitch."
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Manager Castle is delighted to have Clarke back available and is looking to the man with 91 City goals to his name to prove the inspiration for a surge up the table. He said: "Not taking anything away from Simon Martin and Haks, Lee Clarke is a quality striker. We have been down to two strikers and I wanted to give Lee some minutes. He will give me a selection headache for Saturday."
St Albans City Supporters Club are running a coach to Maidenhead United on Bank Holiday Monday, departing Clarence Road at 12.30pm subject to the number of bookings. The cost is £12 for adult supporters club members and £8 for junior members. For more information telephone Peter Knock on 01727 847484 or Ian Bangs on 07733 381874. Fans can book a place on the coach at the club shop on Saturday when St Albans City welcome Blue Square South newcomers Chelmsford City to Clarence Park.