Chester FC: In-form striker James Alabi happy to stay with the Blues


Charlie Croasdale

JAMES ALABI insists he is happy to stay at Chester as the forward’s season continues to go from strength to strength.

The Blues say they have had no firm interest in the 22-year-old powerhouse but the dozen Football League scouts who attended the home win over Aldershot Town last month couldn’t help but notice Alabi’s pace and power as he scored in a deserved 2-0 victory.

The former Stoke City and Ipswich Town striker had a quiet festive period as Chester lost twice against Solihull Moors but he exploded back into life in the second-half at Cressing Road on Saturday, as Braintree Town felt the force of Alabi at his physical best, executing a masterclass in hold-up play and bagging two goals which included an 84th minute winner.

Alabi undoubtedly has the attributes to climb the football pyramid and play at a higher level, but for the time being he says he is relishing playing for Chester and will continue to graft for boss Jon McCarthy.

“I’m delighted to be here and like I said at the beginning of the season, and throughout the season, this is the most enjoyable season of my career so far,” he said.

“I’m enjoying playing football here. I’m playing every week, I’m working hard and I’m thankfully reaping the rewards at the moment. Hopefully that will continue over the coming months.

“If you’re doing well then obviously then there will be interest from other clubs but right now I am focused on doing well with Chester. 

“The manager has had faith in me and I feel it is only right to repay that faith, hopefully I’m doing that by scoring goals.”

Alabi’s second-half efforts at Braintree were his 10th and 11th goals of the current campaign, the first a near post header from Kane Richards’ cross before he fired home Tom Shaw’s square-pass with six minutes left on the clock to send the visiting fans wild behind the goal.

“Kane did really well on the first goal to get the cross in from the right, and I think Braintree’s defenders were thankfully asleep and I was able to get infront of them and head it in so that’s always a nice way to score, it’s a poachers finish,” Alabi  added.

“The second has come just at the right time. It was a cracking ball from Shaw, right into my stride and it was a first time finish and thankfully I’ve connected with it well and it’s sailed into the corner.

“It’s always good to get on the end of a counter-attack like that, they are nice goals to score as a team away from home and it earned us a big three points.

“We’ve been disappointed by the last two defeats, we weren’t good enough against Solihull in the second game, I think all the boys were really frustrated by that performance.

“The gaffer told us to stick to our game plan and it would show through in the second-half. At half-time he said keep your heads, stick to the way we play and don’t lose your cool, and that’s what we did in the second-half and we got our rewards so I’m pretty happy with how it happened.”

Chester now take a break from National League action and take on Forest Green Rovers this Saturday at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium in round two of the FA Trophy.

With a host of non-league’s top tier teams already knocked out, there is a sense around Chester that the Trophy is a genuine opportunity to earn some silverware this season.

“Everyone was very happy to get the three points at Braintree, there’s a big period of matches coming up for us in the league and the cup so we needed to shake off those defeats against Solihull,” added Alabi.

“I believe we can go on another good run now like we did before Christmas when we were eight unbeaten. 

“If we can reproduce that sort of form then it will at least get us in and around the push for the play-offs.

“We were more than delighted to get the win at Braintree and it feels like a weight off our shoulders if we’re being honest.

 “We can start looking forward to the Forest Green game now and it’s always good to go into a break from the league on the back of a win.”

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