St Albans City assistant manager Lee Allinson knows the Saints will have their work cut out when table toppers Maidenhead United visit on Saturday.
The results on New Year’s Day saw the Magpies move 10 points clear of their rivals at the top of National League South while the Saints now trail United by 12 points after a run of poor results over the festive period.
Allinson was hoping for better but accepts that every side will have a difficult run at some point in the season and says the match against the Magpies gives St Albans the perfect chance to bounce back in style.
“Maidenhead have had a fantastic season,” he said.
“They’re very good at what they do and have a couple of excellent strikers. They’ve also got James Comley in central midfield and we know what he can do from his time at St Albans. They’ve got a game plan and they stick to it. They also keep a lot of clean sheets which no other team is doing.
“If you can do that and you’ve got (Sean) Marks and (Dave) Tarpey scoring then you’re going to win matches.
“They’re the best side in the league and the table doesn’t lie so we know how hard it’s going to be.
“I was happy with how we played in the 1-1 draw at York Road. It’s going to be another tight match on Saturday and it might come down to whichever side takes their chances.”
A double defeat to Oxford City on Boxing Day (4-2) and New Year’s Day (2-1) has left the Saints third in the table but Allin- son claims they’ve been knocked off their stride by injuries and suspensions.
He added: “But other teams have gone through these periods where they haven’t managed to get a win. We’re third and we want to stay there.”
The Saints will have defender Tom Bender back from suspension and central midfielder Scott Thomas isn’t too far away from a return to either.
They've sold Junior Morias to Peterborough United, and signed forward Charlie Walker – following his release from Aldershot Town – and defender Tom Gardiner from Dartford.
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