RYAN ASTLES is confident Chester will be better for their enforced break from action.
The Blues will have been stewing on the agonising 3-2 derby defeat to Tranmere Rovers, who scored twice in the final nine minutes, for over two weeks when they tackle Eastleigh on Saturday.
But Chester were without the likes of Tom Shaw, Luke George and Theo Vassell for the clash, the break allowing each player the chance to return to action.
Astles is confident Chester will be fresh and firing for the game after a lively week of training.
“It was a bit frustrating not to have a game last weekend, because when you lose you always want to play as soon as possible,” said Astles. “But the weekend off did allow us to recover and hopefully we will be better for the rest against Eastleigh.
“We have struggled a bit with injuries, but we know what it is like coping with them and although they have hurt us a little bit, we’ve dealt with them.
“Other players have come in for those that have been injured and taken their chance. Once they’ve got a chance it is up to the player to try and keep the shirt, which is good for the team.
“You do want the next game to come as soon as possible. It was tough to take given how late they scored, but we will get on with it and focus on putting things right in the next game.”
Returning to winning ways will be easier said than done however with the burly central defender expecting Eastleigh to arrive at the Deva Stadium looking for revenge.
The Blues recorded a 3-0 win at Ten Acres earlier in the season, a result Eastleigh, who have been going through a traumatic time on and off the field since then, will want to put right.
“It will be another tough game, but it is up to us to do what we know we can do,” said Astles, who saw Kane Richards, Tom Shaw and Jordan Chapell sink Eastleigh in November.
“They will want revenge for the score at their place, but we know if we can stay strong then we can pick up all three points.
“We want to make sure we are playing well and picking up points over the next few weeks.”
Astles has been an ever present in the Chester team this season, playing all 35 National League matches, a statistic only Elliott Durrell can match.
And former Buckley Town defender Astles is focused on maintaining his form, rather than extending his contract with the Blues.
“I’m just getting on with my game,” said Astles. “It is important to finish the season strongly and then I can see where that takes me.
“It has been a good season so far, but it is important to keep going. We can’t just let the season go to waste.”
Astles was brought to the club by Chris Herbert, tasked with finding talent under former boss Steve Burr.
The 22-year-old was grateful to Herbert, who is now managing Runcorn Linnets,
“I suppose if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here now,” he added.