Greene: Get ready for long-ball merchants

ST Neots Town manager Dennis Greene is expecting an aerial assault at Billericay Town on Saturday – and will warn his players “not to be sloppy”.

Greene skipped training and went down to Essex on Tuesday night to see the Ryman League Premier side play Tooting & Mitcham ahead of this Saturday’s big FA Trophy game.

And he came away with a sore neck after watching the long-ball merchants beat their opponents 5-1 to go top of their division.

“It wasn’t exactly football,” said the St Neots boss. “Tooting played the football but they were 2-0 down in six minutes, before they knew what had hit them really.

“As I said, it’s wasn’t football – but it was effective.

“They have a winger with a Rory Delap-style throw and at every set play they have three giants in the box, and the big centre halves come trundling up from the from the back.

“We will have to be switched on, we will have to make sure we defend properly – I will be telling the players ‘Don’t be sloppy’.”

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Greene is hoping that experienced centre back Chris Hope will be available for the game after he missed last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at North Greenford United. The manager admitted his teenage centre back pairing of Jordan Gent and Nick Henerbery struggled in that one – but Hope trained on Tuesday night following an ankle injury and will be in the squad for the game in Essex.

Greene will definitely be without midfielder Junior Konadu, who has been given six weeks off to chase his dream of becoming a Football League player, and suspended striker Shane Tolley.

Lewis Hilliard came off the bench to replace Konadu in the centre of the park at North Greenford, but Neil MacKenzie, who has been out of action with a niggling injury, also trained on Tuesday and could be available for selection.

Meanwhile, former St Neots manager Steve Lomas, 37, has been named the new boss at Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone.

The former Northern Ireland international, who left his post as manager of the Saints earlier this year to take up a position as the reserve team boss at his former club West Ham United, replaced Derek McInnes, who left the club for Bristol City two weeks ago.

Current Saints boss Greene worked as Lomas’s assistant at the Hunts Post Community Stadium before being named his successor by chairman Mike Kearns.