St Albans City hoping to retain rest of squad after spate of departures

Chris Henry and Jerome Walker celebrate the Saints' equaliser against Hitchin Town: Robert Walkley

Chris Henry and Jerome Walker celebrate the Saints' equaliser against Hitchin Town: Robert Walkley

First published in Sport

St Albans City joint manager Graham Golds is hopeful he can hold onto the current squad and start rebuilding during the rest of the season.

The Saints have lost a group of players following the dismissal of manager David Howell and the appointment of Golds and Jimmy Gray.

Striker Lewis Toomey recently joined Boreham Wood and the latest departure from Clarence Park saw defender Moussa Diarra move to Hemel Hempstead Town.

Golds said: “Fingers crossed that’s hopefully the last of it because we’ve had nine players gone altogether and it’s a rebuilding process where we’ve had to start from scratch.

“It’s like basically pre-season but in the middle of the campaign when it’s harder to get players to come to your club.”

He continued: “We can now put our stamp on things and all the players that have gone were the previous manager’s players that he brought to the club. Now me and Jimmy can put our stamp on it and look to build the squad.

“It’s been hard with twos and threes going when we’ve sometimes been finding out late on a Thursday or Friday that they’ve gone.

“With the budget restraints as well it’s been hard to get players in before they’ve gone. That frees the money up and then we can react and look to bring a player in. Things have been really difficult but I think we’re through that now and hopefully we’ve come out the other end and we can start building.”

The Saints have brought back former striker Jerome Walker from Concord Rangers and the manager wants to bring in several players over the next week.

Golds said: “He [Walker] actually approached somebody from the club and said he wanted to get away from Concord. We said come down and we’ll have a look at you.

“He’s been here before and we’ve seen him before. You can see his assets with his pace and his tricks so hopefully he’ll be a good signing for us.

“We’ve thrown a few seven day approaches out there to a few clubs. We are hoping to bring in three or four new faces next week and we’ll take it from there.”

St Albans battled back to earn a 1-1 draw at home to Hitchin Town in the Southern Premier Division on Saturday.

The hosts trailed to a Jake Wooley effort in the second half.

But St Albans salvaged a point when Chris Henry hit a superb strike into the corner of the net seven minutes from time.

Striker Simon Martin came on for his 300th appearance for the club during the draw.

Golds, whose side host Gosport Borough this Saturday, said: “I didn’t think we started too well and it was hard then to get going. We were a little bit sloppy in possession and they came and shut us down quickly.

“But I felt we went a little bit long too soon and we couldn't get a foothold in the game but obviously Chris dug us out of trouble in the second half with a great strike.

“I felt in the second half we had a 15 minute spell where we actually got the ball down and moved it quickly.

“We were moving them across the park and then gaps and space started to open up.

During that period I felt something might come up and obviously after the goal I felt that we could have gone on and got the second.”

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