WADE JOYCE believes he has done enough to retain his place in the Chester line-up for this weekend’s clash with Gateshead.
The 22-year-old – son of Wigan Athletic manager Warren Joyce – has been limited to just five starts in all competitions this season for the Blues, but was thrust into the starting XI at Dagenham and Redbridge last weekend due to the late withdrawl of Kane Richards through illness.
And the defensive midfielder made the most of his opportunity, producing a fine display in the holding role, although he couldn’t prevent Chester slipping to a third defeat in their past four matches.
“It was good to start and I’ve waited quite a while for 90 minutes,” he said. “I’ve been patient and I've been looking forward to the chance whenever it came by.
“When I found out I was starting I was excited for the game and I think I did well in there, so I’m hoping I can keep my place and start to get a run of games under my belt and keep helping the team.
“You’ve always got to work hard in training, especially given the lads have done so well when I’ve not been involved. There’s good players in my position, (Tom) Shaw, (Luke) George, (Ryan) Lloyd, they’ve been winning games and done brilliantly.
“You’ve got to be patient and keep pushing them harder in training and if that helps the team win then it’s all good, and we all know the competition is there and places are up for grabs if you don’t perform week in week out. The manager isn’t afraid to use anyone in the starting XI.”
With 22-year-old on-loan midfielder Lloyd set for a return to the squad for Saturday’s visit of Gateshead, Joyce’s role in Jon McCarthy’s side may be limited, but regardless of whether he starts or not, the former Stockport and Oldham man believes the Blues must learn the lessons of their heartbreaking defeat at Victoria Road, having led 2-1 with just four minutes remaining.
“We’ve gone in 1-0 down at half-time and it is disheartening because we had the better chances in that 45 minutes,” he continued.
“We came out second-half and we were like a house on fire, we get two goals and we’re right in the game.
“For it to fizzle out at the end with 10 men, it’s a real kick in the teeth. Even with 10 men, we’d have taken a point, but it’s a tough one to take because we were the better team.
“Dagenham came down from the Football League and we’ve shown we can mix it with the likes of them and other teams around them.
“On a different day, we can turn these results into wins and we could be right up there with teams challenging for promotion, so there’s positives but it’s also negative because we’d like to come away with three points.
“Most of us are quite young and we’re learning all the time and picking up on different points in each game. Our game management wasn’t good enough and at 2-2 we maybe needed to frustrate them, we were a bit naive in the things we did. We’ll take that into the rest of the season.”
Next up for McCarthy’s side is another clash with a side looking to boost their play-off prospects, when the Heed visit the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on Saturday (12.15pm), a game being shown live on BT Sport.
Joyce feels the backing of Chester’s home support will help spur them on to a much-needed three points, after a run of just one win in their past seven outings, which has seen the Blues drop to 12th spot.
“Gateshead’s going to be a good one, hopefully we’ll get a good crowd in and get the home supporters behind us again,” Joyce added.
“If we’re at home, we maybe don’t concede these sloppy goals or concede late on, and the fans help lift us and it’ll be good with it being on TV.”