New St Albans City manager Ian Allinson is looking forward to taking on the challenge of helping the club preserve their Vanarama National League South status.
The former Arsenal winger was confirmed as the new Saints boss on Friday and took charge of his new side for the first time just twenty four hours later.
He oversaw a 2-2 draw with Concord Rangers and he admitted that the challenges that lie ahead of him were something he “wanted to get my teeth into”
“I just think they are a big club, I am fully aware of the status of where they are being manager of Boreham Wood. They are two clubs very close to each other and I was doing the Director of Football role, which I wasn’t enjoying and wanted to get back into management.
Knowing St Albans, the town and knowing the crowds they can generate, it was something that I wanted to get my teeth into”
Allinson spent seven years as manager with the Saints near-neighbours Boreham Wood.
However their move into a full-time status meant that he left his position in October, only to return weeks later as the club’s new Director of Football.
That role was, according to Allinson, difficult and left him wanting to return to working with players on a more regular basis.
“One thing I have to be very careful of is that Boreham Wood have been great to me over the last eight years, even when I stood back in October when they went full-time, which was the correct move for them.
The chairman kindly invited me into the Director of Football role and I said I would give it a go. I found it quite difficult in the three months I have been doing it. It is nice to be involved in transfers, it is nice to be involved in talking to players and going to see games, building a portfolio on that side of it.
But I have missed the nitty-gritty of being in the dugout and working with players on a regular basis”
The Saints sit second from bottom in the National League South, four points behind nineteenth placed Hayes and Yeading United.
And Allinson admitted that he would have to make tough decisions quickly if their survival bid is to be a successful one.
“Unfortunately we are in a situation where we have fourteen games to go, we are in a relegation fight and decisions have to be made very quickly.
In the past you would take six to ten games to look at people, what are their strengths and weaknesses, how do they train, how do they work.
But the situation we are in we can’t afford to lose too many games. Otherwise it will come down to the fact that we will have to win maybe seven or eight of our last ten games”
Not that the fickle hand of fate has given Allinson the easiest of starts.
Saturday’s draw with Concord Rangers is followed by Tuesday night’s trip to league leaders and title favourites Ebbsfleet United.
Hot on the heels of their trip to the Fleet is another away game, this time against fellow strugglers Bath City.
The game against Ebbsfleet sees Allinson up against a familiar face.
Fleet boss Daryl McMahon was part of the Boreham Wood side that sealed promotion into the National League last season and Allinson paid tribute to the job that the former West Ham United academy player was doing but hopes that his side will take heart from taking a point from Concord Rangers on Saturday.
“It could have been a lot easier but we have fourteen or fifteen games to go and we have to make the most of them.
We have Ebbsfleet tomorrow and Darryl (McMahon) has done a great job there. I had Darryl at Boreham Wood last year and he has turned them around. Everybody felt they would be favourites and the way things stand, they should be favourites.
It is going to be tough but hopefully picking up a point on Saturday will give us a bit more confidence. We have to go there with the belief we can win the game and then we have a six-pointer against Bath on Saturday, which is never an easy place to go because they have a new manager too and everyone will be looking to impress him”
Just days into the job Allinson has already set his side an immediate target of reaching thirty points.
If that is achieved he believes that they will drag another couple of teams into the relegation battle, giving his side a better chance of survival.
“We have to get to thirty points as quickly as possible to drag another two or three teams into it. Looking at it, it is probably four teams vying for the three places. I look at the squad Havant and Waterlooville have got and the squad Basingstoke have got.
For me it is going be difficult to see them in the relegation spots for the rest of the season so we have to get to the teams above them very very quickly so we can drag six or seven teams into it, rather than just one or two”
To listen to the full interview with new St Albans City manager Ian Allinson via the nonleaguedaily.com AudioBoom account click on the image below
Interview: Mark Carruthers