KANE RICHARDS believes Chester can close in on a play-off spot with victory over Solihull Moors this weekend.
The Blues face a rematch against the Moors, who got the better of the first meeting between the two sides on Boxing Day, running out with a 3-2 success at Damson Park.
Richards grabbed his seventh goal of a productive season so far in that loss but feels the Blues can turn the tables on their opponents and close the seven-point gap that currently exists between Jon McCarthy’s men and the top five.
“We’re not looking too far forward, it’s kept us well grounded so far,” he said.
“For me personally, I believe if we keep playing as we are we can push into the play-offs as we’ve shown we can beat the teams in the play-off places. We have beaten the top teams and we’re hard to beat and that’s a great thing to have.
“It hurts as a lot of teams around us dropped points on Boxing Day but we will look to kick on at home at the weekend. The gaffer is almost OCD with the organisation he drums into us and if you know you’re not playing, you know you’re ready to come in and you know your job.”
“Even though we’ve lost, we played well and we’re not used to losing this season,” he explained about the 3-2 defeat, which ended a seven-match unbeaten league run for the Blues, and also saw Johnny Hunt sent-off after just 16 minutes.
“I think the boys in that dressing room, even with 10 men we’ve coped well, and we probably should’ve beaten them. That’s the belief we have in that dressing room and we believe we can beat anyone.
“We’ll wait until New Year’s Day and make sure we come out and beat them and put right this defeat.
“Of course it’s hard with 10 men. The referee has made his decision based on what he saw, and the guy has then scored a good free-kick. But the boys have grafted and even at 1-1 we thought we could’ve got something from it. All we can do now is make sure we’re ready for them next time.
“We want to show every team, every game, what we’re about and I think teams are starting to respect us as Chester now. New Year’s Day we’ve got to make them see how good we actually are and ensure we can come away with three points.”
The 22-year-old missed the past two games firstly through a one-match ban for the red card he received at Witton Albion away in the FA Trophy, and then due to a foot injury ahead of the 2-0 home win over Aldershot Town.
“It’s been a little bit frustrating, I got myself sent off at Witton and have missed a few games,” he added.
“I feel like I’ve not played in ages, I had a little injury too for the Aldershot game. It’s nice to get back playing and to get on the scoresheet. Whoever plays out there, we know it’s difficult to get back in as there’s so much competition for places. The gaffer tells us it’ll be hard to win our place back if we lose it.
“When I am on the pitch, I have to make sure I do everything to make sure I keep my place.”
Richards’ injury time consolation at Solihull looked to have crossed the line before team-mate Luke George ensured it had gone in by blasting home, and Richards was in no mood to see his goal chalked off.
He added: “You know what I’m going to say, it needs to be mine! I thought it was over the line but of course Luke is in there trying to claim it, he’s just being an idiot though! Hopefully it goes down as mine as strikers always want as many goals as possible.”
- Chester’s first round Cheshire Senior Cup tie at home to Hyde United will take place on Tuesday, January 10 (7.45pm kick-off). Further details will be released in due course.