St Albans City boss wants to make Clarence Park a fortress

The Saints battled to a 1-1 draw at Evesham: Robert Walkley

The Saints battled to a 1-1 draw at Evesham: Robert Walkley

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

St Albans City boss David Howell insists his side’s play-off chances rest on them turning Clarence Park into a fortress.

The Saints are three points off the top five and their next four matches are all at home as they look to keep their promotion hopes alive.

Their first game comes this weekend against mid-table Bashley and the side can ill-afford to slip up if they want to stay in the hunt for a play-off place.

Howell said: “It’s going to be hard whatever happens from now until the run-in. There are going to be sides, not just us, who are going to pick up or lose points.

“We just have to stay focused and we know what we've got to do. I wanted us to get as many points as we could before we embarked on our four home matches and now we've got to go and get as many points as we can from them.

“We’ve got to show Clarence Park is a fortress and that we’re not about to give up anything to anybody coming down there. I would hope for 12 points. We’ll look to try and start the four games off with a positive attitude.”

The Saints had to work hard to salvage a 1-1 draw at struggling Evesham on Saturday. After falling behind, the visitors were grateful to Cedrik Ngakam who headed in his second goal in as many games to rescue a 76th minute equaliser.

The former Harrow Borough boss said: “In the end, when it was 1-0, it looked like we couldn’t break them down because they were quite happy to sit once they got their goal. It didn’t look like we were even going to get anything out of it all.

“With the goal it was one of the best deliveries that Danny Hart has put in for a while. It’s what he’s capable of doing and his free-kick was on the money. Whoever got their head to it was going to be favourite to either score or clear it. It was the kind of ball we’ve been begging for on set pieces.

“For all our early pressure and domination in the first 20 minutes the keeper didn’t really have anything to do. We huffed and puffed and then we were caught out and gave away a goal from a set piece.

“We’d known they scored from set pieces in their last three or four matches. To be fair, their central defenders did well and kept them in the game and kept our front two quiet.

“It was a different game. Evesham are working hard and fighting for points for different reasons and we’ve got to be able to match that.

“Like I said there are no gimmes or easy games. You are going to come up against opposition that want the three points as much as you do.

“If you’ve got individuals in the team who think they can have short cuts or any easy way of getting the three points then it impacts on the overall team performance. Maybe I felt we had too many players out there who felt that.”

The Saints are awaiting news on Chris Seeby after he damaged his right cheekbone during the recent win over Oxford City. He went for an assessment at Northwick Park Hospital on Monday but it is not yet known if he will be ruled out for the rest of the season.

Howell added: “I don’t know what his situation is. He saw the specialist on Monday and he will have an X Ray when the swelling’s gone down.

“There may be some possibility he can play with a mask but we don’t know yet. He had to wait and see what the outcome of the appointment is.”

n The Harpenden Construction Limited February player of the month is Nick Jupp and his award will be presented by Saints supporter Dan Hill, prior to the this Saturday’s game against Bashley.

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