Welch and Saints set for contract talks

Joe Welch pulling of one of a number of saves during the game. Picture: Leigh Page

Joe Welch pulling of one of a number of saves during the game. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

City want Rhys Toms back, too

St Albans City want Joe Welch as their number one for next season.

The 25-year-old, who replaced Paul Bastock during the summer, has made 40 appearances this season and kept 12 clean sheets, including three in the last four games. He missed four games at the start of January after a heart scare, but returned to play every game since.

A front-runner for player of the year, Welch has been one of the Saints’ most consistent players and, understandably, joint manager James Gray is keen to keep hold of him.

“Joe has been superb this season,” he said. “He’s a calming figure, a big lad and a great shot stopper, coming for crosses and punching things.

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“He’s been a pleasure to work with and I’ll be sitting down with him this week to try to secure him for next year.”

Gray also wants to keep the services of goalkeeping coach Rhys Toms, who he insists is worth his weight in gold.

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“Rhys isn’t mentioned much but he’s worked wonders. Joe was already a good goalkeeper but Rhys has made him quicker and alert in training,” he said.

“I really appreciate everything he’s done, and hopefully we’ll secure both for next season.”

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