RYAN LLOYD would love to extend his stay at Chester beyond the end of the season, if the deal is right for both parties.
The 22-year-old has chosen to remain with the Blues until the end of the current campaign, having re-joined on-loan from Port Vale prior to Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Braintree Town.
Lloyd rejected an offer from Steve Burr's Southport of a two-and-a-half year contract – where he would have earned more money – to stick with Jon McCarthy’s side and he revealed the key reasons behind his decision to remain at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
“Southport put a contract on the table for me but I felt it wouldn’t benefit me as much as staying here,” he explained.
“I’d have to go into a new team, meet new players, whereas I’m enjoying my football here and I’m playing the best football of my career. I’ve been here a while and I enjoy it here, I’d have had to settle in there.
“As long as I’m happy and going to play decent football, that’s all that matters.
“Jon’s a good manager, he’s a really good manager here.
“I’m guaranteed to learn quite a bit off him so I thought it was my best option to stay here and carry on playing regular first-team football.
“Like I say, I’ve really enjoyed it here and I’m enjoying it, and I think I’m playing good football, so if the deal was right in the summer then I’d be happy to stay.”
Chester’s young squad have defied the odds this season to climb into the top-half and their weekend win at Cressing Road means a late charge for a play-off spot is not out of reach.
However, January is set to prove a pivotal month for McCarthy with key squad members such as Sam Hughes and James Alabi likely to attract interest from Football League clubs, and Lloyd admits it’s vital to keep hold of their better players.
“It’s massively important to keep hold of our better players.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without the likes of James and Sam, if we can keep hold of those players in January then I am sure we can kick on and push for the play-offs,” he continued.
“We’ve ground a good result out here at Braintree, when it wasn’t easy and we had to work really hard to turnaround a losing position, and we’ve gone on to win it so that shows we have the fight here to push up to those top five places.”
Three points at Braintree looked unlikely at the interval with the Blues trailing 1-0 and struggling to get to grips with the hosts’ attackers Michael Cheek and Jack Midson.
However, Chester were transformed in the second-half and Alabi’s brace meant it was a happy journey back north on the team coach.
“We didn’t make a good start at all, we got put under a lot of pressure early on,” Lloyd added.
“Second-half I thought we came out like a different side altogether.
“We started creating chances, and Alabi has banged two in for us.
“It was bypassing midfield in the first-half, I think the slope of the pitch had a little bit to do with that, our clearances didn’t seem to be going as far as theirs.
“But the main thing was they were picking up all the headers and second balls in midfield and that caused us a lot of problems and that was the main reason we struggled.
“It’s great having a finisher like that.
“Every team needs a goalscorer and he’s part of our team and when Alabi plays well, we play well.
“If he scores goals we tend to win games and he holds the ball up really well.
“He’s a great asset to have at the club, and it’s his job to score goals.”
- Jon McCarthy is set to make several changes when Chester host Hyde United in the Cheshire Cup first round tonight (7.45pm). Tickets are £3 for adults, £1 for u18s.
See full story in the Leader