Sam Merson interview

Prior to his dramatic injury-time winner, the Saints striker took time out to speak exclusively to the matchday programme.

The Saints striker looking to remain on the goal trail

Sam Merson is already a favourite on the terraces here at Clarence Park but the young forward is now hoping to become a favourite with the management and secure a regular starting place after already providing a handful of relentless performances for the club so far this season.

“I’m happy with my contribution so far but there’s always going to be more to offer as the season unfolds.” says Merson

“I’m constantly improving my game and having scored some important goals already, I’m setting my stall out early and hoping that I can continue finding the net on a regular basis.”

The goals the striker refers to include a neat finish in the season opener at Oxford City followed by a wonderful effort against Wealdstone in our first home game of the new campaign just a few days after. The last goal to date came in the 3-1 win against Weston-Super-Mare with Merson growing in confidence. So what targets has Merson set himself given the start he’s already had…

“Just to score as many as I can and help the team maintain momentum really.” 

“The manager is after a certain level of work-rate first and foremost which I think we’ve met in the majority of games so far, but my job is ultimately to score goals and I’d like to think I’ve played my part in the good start we’ve had and I’m looking forward to contributing more – especially with some important games coming up.”

“We had a bad result at Braintree where we just didn’t turn up if we’re honest but that one result aside, I feel we’ve been competitive in every game of the season so far; but it’s upto us to keep plugging away and make sure we’re still challenging for the top spot.”

City squandered a two-goal lead here on Saturday against Eastbourne Borough but Merson remains philosophical about the Saints’ chances of returning to the summit of the National League South.

“We look back at Saturday’s game and it feels like a defeat. The manager let us know his feelings in the changing room afterwards but the players didn’t need telling that we took our eye off the ball in the second half and we let the three points slip.”

“Of course it’s disappointing but we’ve got to pick ourselves up and focus on the next game and use that as a springboard to get us back on track.”

“We’ve got a good squad and we don’t suddenly become a bad team overnight. It’s important we don’t overreact too much and just remember the fundamentals which helped us to that great start.”

Merson thrives on service and those slide-rule passes behind the defence but is always willing to put in the hard yards to help out the team.

“You only have to look at what Charlie (Walker) has done in a lone role up front to realise that you need to be patient at this level. It’s a thankless task when you’re up there on your own chasing down the entire opposition back-four.”

I’m a different player to Charlie but will quite happily adapt my game according to the needs of the team. As I said, no major need to panic. We know we’ve got goals in us so its just a matter of working a bit harder in key moments of the game and seeing out the result.”

“Havant & Waterlooville will be tough opposition for us tonight. I think I’m right in saying they’re currently second so we know we can’t have another lapse in concentration. It’s very tight at the top currently and although it’s still too early to be concentrating on league positions – another home win, and hopefully a goal or two this evening and we’re back on the right path.”