St Albans City boss James Gray keen to hold onto promotion winning squad

The Saints are expected to keep most of their promotion winning squad together: Dave Peters

The Saints are expected to keep most of their promotion winning squad together: Dave Peters

First published in Sport St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by

St Albans City’s joint manager James Gray believes the current squad are good enough to compete next season but still expects to strengthen the promotion winners this summer.

The Saints won their play-off final at Chesham United last week and will be playing at Conference South level next season but Gray does not want to dismantle the squad.

Gray said: “We are going to engage with the squad over the next week and hopefully get most of the players signed on for next season.

“We don’t want to go chopping and changing too much although we would like to add a few experienced Conference South level players as well.

“The general idea is to keep the squad together. I think virtually all of the squad are capable of playing at Conference South level.”

Gray added: “I think it will be quite an easy task to keep them here and I wouldn’t expect many of them to leave.

“Some of them will have interest from other clubs but the lads enjoy themselves here and are looking forward to a fresh challenge.

“Money does talk so you never know, but I would expect the majority of the squad to sign on and stay.”

The Saints boss expects it to be a tough campaign but thinks his squad should be able to hold their own in the higher division.

He said: “We are under no illusions it will be a tough season. There is a lot more physical strength and bigger names but I feel we stood up to the challenge of Conference South sides when we had our cup runs this season.

“I don’t expect us to tear up the division and win the league but we should be able to handle the challenge and I wouldn’t rule out trying to get into the play-offs.”

Saints owner John McGowan has reportedly offered to stage gaelic football matches at Clarence Park. London GAA play in Ruislip but will need a temporary home while the Emeralds Grounds is redeveloped.

Gray said: “It’s the first I’ve heard of it but that’s not my jurisdiction. It’s down to the relevant parties and owners to decide if they want to host other matches.”

The Saints will travel to play Ware of the Ryman North Division in the Herts Charity Cup at the start of next season.

The winners will go to Bishop’s Stortford or Potters Bar Town in the semi-final.

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