Jon McCarthy insists Chester FC share his ambition to move forward


Charlie Croasdale

JON MCCARTHY insists Chester share his ambition despite facing competition to keep hold of his key players.

Aside from back-to-back defeats at the hands of Solihull Moors over the past week, the Blues have punched above their weight this term and lie 10th in the National League after 27 games.

Current loan deals for Ryan Lloyd and Theo Vassell expired on January 1 and McCarthy is desperate to keep his young squad together, but at least two other non-league clubs are set to bid to sign 22-year-old midfielder Lloyd, who has been crucial for Chester this season.

McCarthy is concerned he may lose members of his squad during this month’s transfer window but insists Chester remain committed to ultimately returning to the Football League, even if they lose key players in the short-term.

On Lloyd and Vassell he explained: “Their current deals are up so we’ve got to try and make that happen now.

“They’re both good players and they’ve got interest in them, we’re not the only ones competing for them. I’ll have to fight as hard as I can for Ryan, he likes it here and he’s in the team.

“We’re in competition with other teams but we’ve got a good relationship with Port Vale and we’re hopeful we could do something. Circumstances may go against us.

“We’ve got more ambition than other clubs, and no one is more ambitious than me, or the people I am working with. There’s resources here but we’re a very new club and stability is important.

“Finances are important and I don’t think it’s fair to say we lack any ambition. 

“Ryan Lloyd will come into that, some other clubs might be able to offer better deals but it doesn’t mean they are more ambitious than we are.

 “Our fans should realise we’re achieving things here and results reflect that. It might take us a while to realise our ambitions though.

“I think this football club wants to get back in the league, fans are frustrated with me and I’ll take the criticism. I’ve only managed 30 games so I’m still learning as a manager.

“I was ambitious in my career, I was at York City and then I moved up to what is now the Championship. I know we’ve had a disappointing two games here but I need to find a way to stabilise us and then kick on back up the table.”

Chester were on the verge of the play-off places going into the festive period but a 3-2 defeat at Solihull followed by the 3-0 reversal on New Year’s Day has stunted their progress somewhat, although the Blues still remain in the top half.

McCarthy felt Sunday’s loss was a ‘disaster’ given the healthy crowd of 2,244 inside the Deva, but refused to blame it on the part-time set-up at the club.

“We are massively disappointed, people wanted to come here and see this team that’s doing so well, and we’ve been beaten 3-0 so it’s an absolute disaster,” McCarthy accepted.

“It’s really difficult to find many positives or sing the praises of too many. We had chances in the first-half, if we take a couple of those then we’re in a decent position.

“But we defended poorly, the goals are avoidable and we were poor on set pieces. As a group we are very disappointed but I will defend my players to the hilt for what they have done so far. I apologise to the fans, we’re genuinely sorry.

“We worked hard in preparation for this game, we trained for three days before, but it didn’t happen. Being part-time, this period is difficult for us, but I thought we did everything in our power to prepare correctly.

“I felt comfortable enough with the shape for the whole game but there was a lack of cohesion between individual units. 

“We weren’t there in groups when we needed to be, it’s hard to explain but we matched up with Solihull and we knew who would go up against each other.”

Solihull striker Omari Sterling-James was the major difference between the two sides across both matches and McCarthy was impressed by Moors’ forward line.

“Solihull have quality in their strikeforce and any of our fans who went there, look at their ground, it might create a false impression, because they are a decent side,” he added.

“Individually they did better than us. Boxing Day’s result was false because of the red card and the way things went against us, but we looked shaky on set pieces and that was surprising. We looked fragile, six goals in two games hurts us.

“They’ve got quality players, they play good football and they caused us problems but we should’ve made it harder for them. 

“Some of the decisions we made were soft, and we should be scoring goals against that side.

“We were frustrated by the end, we gave away loads of free-kicks and at least they show passion and they care. But I don’t want them to blame each other after mistakes, make the noise before you make those mistakes, cut them out.

“I’ll watch it back and we will be honest with ourselves but it wasn’t a complete 3-0 mis-match.”

Dover moved up into fourth place as they thrashed Maidstone 4-1 in Sunday’s late National League game.

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