ELLIOTT DURRELL believes Chester can still mix it with the promotion contenders during the rest of the season.
The Blues approached Christmas in seventh spot and closing in on a play-off berth, but two crushing defeats at the hands of Solihull Moors has left Jon McCarthy’s side nine points off the pace with the top five.
Attentions now turn to an away trip to Braintree Town on Saturday (3pm) and former Wrexham winger Durrell feels it is important not to get too downhearted about the miserable results over the festive period.
“We still firmly believe we can reach the play-offs. We’re only a few points worse off due to these two defeats so we’re not too far away,” the 27-year-old said.
“Hopefully we can get there or thereabouts come the end of the season. But I think we’ve at least put ourselves in a position where a couple of defeats aren’t dragging us into a scrap and that’s testament to the job we’ve done here.
“You never get too high and never get too low.
“We went to Eastleigh and won 3-0 at a place where most teams won’t even get a point.
“So just as we don’t get too over excited about that win, we kept our feet on the ground, we won’t beat ourselves up too much over this defeat.
“We’ll be back on the training ground and we’ll work harder and work smarter to put right what we haven’t done against Solihull.”
Liam McDonald’s men were good value for their 3-0 win on New Year’s Day at Chester and Durrell accepts the Blues’ standards dropped well below what is expected of them, having previously strung together an eight-match unbeaten run and lost just once in 16 league outings.
“We were bitterly disappointed with that result and the performance was way below our usual standards,” he continued.
“It’s tough to take but in the main, the positives have outweighed the negatives this season so I think we just have to focus on those and look to get back up and running.
“There’s no point dwelling on the past two games.
“Football can change really quickly, just as quickly as it’s changed for us in the wrong way, hopefully now we can spin it back round and start moving up the table.
“I’m not sure we were lethargic, I just think things didn’t quite go for us. First 10-15 minutes we were bright, we created chances and then there was a case of conceding goals at bad times.
“The goals were avoidable, we’ve not conceded goals like that this season, especially conceding from set-pieces.
“That’s been our forte in that we’ve been solid and built a platform on the defence.
“But we must now look ahead and look to the few positives, get back to basics and I have no doubt we’ll turn things around.”
Durrell was part of Kevin Wilkin’s Wrexham team who endured a rotten run of form in the league, which ultimately cost the now-Brackley Town boss his job at The Racecourse.
Therefore, the former Tamworth midfielder is all-too-aware of how quickly fortunes can change in the National League, and has encouraged McCarthy’s Chester to avoid a third consecutive defeat at Cressing Road.
“That’s the beauty of football, you don’t have long to dwell on things,” added Durrell ahead of the trip to Braintree, who won 2-0 when the two teams last met at Cressing Road almost 12 months ago.
“We’ve got a few days now to put things right, look at what we can do better and go there and come away with a positive result.
“The picture would change again then, and it’ll change plenty of times between now and April.
“Every team has a blip, hopefully ours is two games over the festive period. That’s not ideal, but lets not allow it to become four or five games.
“We’re chomping at the bit to hit the ground running again.
“It’s a snowball effect and you can lose four, five, even six on the bounce.
“You can go from being in the mix to looking over your shoulder but we’re a confidence bunch and we’re hopeful we’ll bounce back.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work in over the season so far, and we’ve worked too hard to let that slip.”
See full story in the Leader