Ten players who St Albans City should be considering to sign next season
- Credit: Archant
Another season over, although not in the way anyone would have predicted, and the next one is looming under a huge cloud of uncertainty. However, that hasn’t stopped Herts Advertiser sports reporter Neil Metcalfe from looking forward if and when football resumes and deciding who will be on St Albans City’s shopping list. These are his thoughts.
I did this last year and actually got two right, even if one left Clarence Park earlier than the last swallow of summer.
This year is slightly harder to come up with 10. There are many players I could put down but I try and make them somewhat achievable and with the uncertainty surrounding the start of next season as well as what shape clubs will be in financially, it’s hard to see through the fog.
The redoing of the season, with the same teams in the same divisions, may make some players determined to stay with their current clubs.
On the flip side the status quo might mean some don’t want to go down the same route again and will actively be seeking new employment.
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But I’ve got there, 10 names who I think St Albans City manager Ian Allinson should at the very least look at.
1.Claudio Ofosu (Royston Town)
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My time watching St Albans City has largely coincided with the Ian Allinson era and if I’ve noticed one thing it’s that he loves a winger or a wide-forward.
Saints arguably play their best football too when they have that width and a steady stream of tantalising crosses coming into the box and Ofosu would bring that as well as goals to the table.
A right-sided midfield man, the former Stevenage junior has quick feet, good balance and can skip across the turf.
Has been described as “too good” for step three which makes the 21-year-old perfect for the Saints revolution.
2.Matt Bateman (Royston Town)
Staying at Garden Walk and a striker who was prolific in his time at Berkhamsted before joining Royston.
Any thoughts he wouldn’t cut it at step three were soon cast out too with some fine performances with the Crows.
He had got up to 16 goals, joint third in the scoring charts for the division, when the season was voided and was an integral player in the club’s push to the FA Trophy quarter-final and potentially the National League South.
The fact the season was voided and promotion never happened might help Saints too and while people always question the step-up, and there obviously is one, it isn’t as big as some would imagine.
It may even be closer next year as the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis hits home and he wouldn’t cost the earth.
3.Adam Marriott (Kings Lynn Town)
I said Marriott last year and I’m going to bang the drum again.
The response to his name is always the same, there’s a worry about his fitness and injury past. I think those days are well behind him.
Scored 24 in 33 appearances during the 2018-19 season for Lynn and he fired 27 last term in the rough and tumble of the National League North.
Probably earning attention from the leagues above and is clearly loving his time at the Linnetts but definitely worth a punt.
4.Luke Allen (Dartford)
A former Saint yes but nowhere near the same one who turned out eight times in the 2015-16 season.
A solid no-nonsense player these days, he still has that technical ability and was the main man in the middle of the park for the Darts.
Midfield is an area that City need to look at. As good as David Noble is and can be, he is not getting any younger and cannot be expected to do it all on his own.
Allen knows what it takes to succeed at this level and would take the pressure off the City skipper.
5.Matt Ball (Biggleswade Town)
This may be a long shot for two reasons. One, I’ve got a feeling if he was to move anywhere it would be back to Hendon and back under the management of Lee Allinson. The second is I’m not sure he would want to come back to Clarence Park, just a feeling I have.
But having seen him over the last few seasons, plus having listened to him speak on the All Things Football podcast, he seems to have matured from his previous spell with City.
He admitted he is now more of a number four than a number 10, a player and a position that would be perfect in any rebuild Ian Allinson wants to make.
6. Charlie Wassmer (Hampton & Richmond Borough)
His last visit to Clarence Park ended with a sending off for an ill-advised lunge but he has been mentioned as one of the league’s best centre-halves for many a season.
Tall, tough, someone I would call a big lump if he was playing rugby, he is definitely worthy of that praise and could well be available.
He is a perfect age too having just turned 29 and brings plenty of experience at this level and higher.
If Allinson wants a steady older hand to guide the younger players, then he may be a super signing.
7. Jordan Parkes (Kings Langley Town)
He is unlikely to want the same amount of money as he did before moving from Hemel to Billericay last summer but may fancy a move back to the National League South.
What may have to be offered is a coaching role, similar to what he has at Gaydown Park.
To get a player of his quality that may not be too insurmountable a demand to grant.
An outside bet yes but another who would sit in the middle of the park and ease the work of Noble.
8.Niko Muir (Hartlepool Utd)
A proven striker while at Hendon, he hit 40 goals as they reached the step three play-offs in the 2017-2018 season, it hasn’t always worked out in the north east and he spent a lot of last year on loan at Hemel Hempstead Town and then Hampton & Richmond Borough.
May now feel he is ready to move back down south and if Saints want a second striker, which they probably do, or even a main one, then Muir could be the man.
Has a strong work ethic and an eye for goal, two major qualities for any forward.
9.Nana Kyei (Potters Bar Town)
I said above that Lee Allinson would be loathed to see Matt Ball leave Hendon. Well, I would be pretty annoyed to see Kyei depart the Scholars and I’m sure manager Lee O’Leary would feel the same.
But there’s a decent player there and while he possibly would benefit from a season with Bar at step three, if raw talent is what you’re after then this man has it.
Released from Barnet last summer he bounced about this level with Maidstone United and Chelmsford City before returning to Parkfield where he had spent an impressive loan spell.
An exciting winger with an eye for goal, what’s not to like?
10.Jamie Fielding (Stevenage)
Defensively there’s work to be done, although nothing too drastic, but my word can he cross a football and that fact more than outweighs any work required.
He may still have another year at the Lamex but another loan deal would be something to definitely keep in mind because those deliveries will bring goals.