RYAN LLOYD’S future remains uncertain as Chester battle with rivals Southport for his signature.
Lloyd’s loan spell with the Blues ended following Sunday’s 3-2 home defeat against Solihull Moors and the midfielder has since returned to parent club Port Vale.
Southport boss Steve Burr, sacked by Chester in April, has had a bid for Lloyd accepted, and although Blues manager Jon McCarthy is striving to keep hold Lloyd, he admits the Blues are unable to match what the Sandgrounders have offered the 22-year-old.
“Southport are in for him and have made a bid. We can’t afford that,” said McCarthy, who retains faith Lloyd will opt to stay with 10th-placed Chester.
“Southport are in the box seat as they can afford him, but we are in a position to make an offer and we’re in control in terms of the player would like to come here and hopefully that’s the strongest draw.
“He’ll speak to Southport now and they’re in a better financial position that us at this moment.
“I’ve no problems with Ryan, he’s done everything properly. He’d like to stay here and finish the project but there’s no greed from the lad, he’s acted honourably and done great for us.
“He knows how much I think of him and how much the fans would like to see him carry on playing for this club, he’s been outstanding.
“From our point of view we’re doing everything to keep him here, either on loan for the rest of the season or in an ideal world, we could have a player of his quality with us permanently.
“But there’s no criticism to be thrown anywhere, the board, Lloydy, everyone is trying to do what’s best. He’s rightly wanted and rightly coveted.”
McCarthy isn’t ruling Lloyd out of tomorrow’s trip to Braintree Town (3pm) in the National League, but admits he will be preparing for his absence as Port Vale, now under the caretaker charge of Michael Brown, are still considering their options.
“I’d like it to be finalised by Saturday but perhaps that’s not likely,” he added.
“Now we have Mark Maguire (Chester CEO) here all the time we’re in a much stronger position than previous in order to react to these situations. Before, it was a manager or assistant doing that, so we’re in a healthier position now, there’s a better infrastructure.
“Clearly we’d like to have Ryan available for the weekend, so would Southport, so the key is Port Vale and how they are going to deal with it. Ultimately it comes down to decisions out of our control now.”
Full-back Theo Vassell’s loan spell has also expired and McCarthy – despite ruling him out of the trip to Cressing Road – is confident of getting the 20-year-old back on-loan for the rest of the campaign.
“Theo knows and Walsall know about my desire to keep Theo until the end of the season,” he continued.
“Walsall have a couple of defensive injuries themselves so they need him to stick around for a week or two while they get players in. They feel he still needs more time out and they’ve told me we’re the favourite to get him back.
“Ian Sharps is there so we have a direct line to Walsall, but Theo won’t be available this weekend. It’s a little frustrating at not owning the players but it’s worked this season and we’re grateful for any help we can get. I think the clubs appreciate the development their players get here and the way we do it.”
McCarthy reiterated his intention to keep hold of his squad during the January window, explaining the Blues were yet to recieve any bids for the likes of James Alabi and Sam Hughes, who have both been linked with a move to the Football League.
“It’s just scouts at the minute, people put two and two together but there’s nothing yet,” he added.
“Why not James Alabi, Ryan Astles? Yes Sam Hughes will be linked, I could go through a load of players in my team that the scouts will be interested in. There’s nothing concrete as yet, there’s still three weeks.
“To make a decision to pay money to take one of our players is still a big decision. I’m trying to hang onto everything I’ve got, just look at how well they’ve done.
“If we can keep them together and keep moving forward, this could be a very good season for the club.
“If we have to deal with changes to the squad, I’m confident we can do that.”