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St Albans City boss James Gray confident ahead of crunch semi-final clash at Cambridge City
St Albans City joint manager James Gray claims his side are full of confidence heading into tomorrow's play-off semi-final at Cambridge City but insists it will not be a disaster if they fail to win promotion.
The Saints finished fifth in the Southern Premier Division after a goalless draw at Frome Town earned them a tie at Cambridge.
St Albans are hoping to reach Monday’s final against either Chesham United or Stourbridge but will face an in-form Cambridge side coming into the clash with five consecutive wins.
Gray said: “We will go into the match full of confidence. We set out to achieve a play-off place and it would be nice if we could finish it off with promotion to the Conference South.
“There is a lot at stake and if we perform to our capability then I feel we will have the edge.
“I think we have to treat it like a cup final. We have a fully fit squad to choose from and if we can get the key decisions right then we will give ourselves every chance of getting through.”
Gray added: “On the night it’s do or die and everybody has to come together and perform.”
It is the first time City have been involved in the play-offs since winning promotion to the Conference in 2006.
Although Gray is desperate to take the Saints up this season, he insists the club are still in a strong position regardless of immediate success or failure.
Gray said: “We took over a side falling apart 18 months ago and finished 11th. So we’ve shown we have progressed a lot this season.
“It would be a setback if we missed out but it wouldn’t be a disaster because the nucleus of the squad would be there to challenge next season.
“It’s never a nice way for any side to miss out but you have to look at the bigger picture and we are moving the club in the right direction.”
The Saints were beaten 1-0 at home to City back in September but produced one of their best displays to win 3-0 at Bridge Road in November.
Gray said: “We can take a lot from winning there 3-0 although it will be a completely different game. It was one of our most complete performances of the season where we did a job and played really good football.
“But Cambridge are a very good, experienced side. Gary Roberts has been in this position a lot more often than us and they’re obviously playing some excellent football at the moment and have the top scorer with 40 goals in Adam Marriott.”
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