LUKE GEORGE admits Chester must go ‘back to the drawing board’ this week as they bid to arrest their sudden dip in form.
Back-to-back 3-2 and 3-0 defeats against Solihull Moors over the festive period leaves the Blues 10th in the National League table and a six-point gap to the play-off places has suddenly been extended to nine.
Prior to their disappointing results in the past week, Jon McCarthy’s men had strung together an eight-match unbeaten run and captain George accepts Chester must tighten up defensively if they are to revive their fortunes at Braintree Town on Saturday.
“It’s all about how we react now, we’ve been on a good run but we’ve lost two on the bounce and we’ve got a difficult away game at Braintree now to put it right,” George said.
“The gaffer will be pumping into us this week what we’ve done well and we need to get back to doing those things right.
“We were sloppy on set pieces against Solihull and they caused us problems with high balls which shouldn’t cause us those sort of problems.
“It’s a little bit back to the drawing board, we certainly weren’t as good offensively and things we’re normally very good at didn’t happen.
“But don’t forget we’ve been on a great run and we can quickly turn defeats into victories. We’ve proven this season we can respond when we need to and get back as high in the league as we can.”
The 3-0 humbling at home by Moors on New Year’s Day was one of Chester’s worst displays this season, with McCarthy even labelling the loss ‘a disaster’ given a bumper crowd of 2,244 had gathered at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
“This needs to be a learning curve for us, we’re still a young squad and we will lose games here and there,” George continued.
“We want to keep the defeats to a minimum and as long as we learn from this defeat, then it can be used in the right way. The gaffer will be right on top of that and have us watching the video and learning where we went wrong.
“It is about a reaction and we need to go to Braintree and get three points.”
The 24-year-old has endured a frustrating time of things this season, suffering an injury which kept him out of action during September before being handed a six-match suspension by the FA for an off-the-ball incident away at Gateshead on the opening day of the season.
“It’s been a long wait for me, a few things didn’t go my way, a few niggles here and there and the suspension added to the frustration,” said George, who has filled in at right-back during the past three league matches.
“It was the same last year but hopefully now things are looking on the bright side and I can get a run of games.
“I don’t want to be playing right-back in the long run but it’s doing a job for the team so I’ll play anywhere on that pitch if it’s helping the team.
“I’m made up to be back in that dressing room, it’s been difficult for me to stay involved when I was banned but the gaffer kept me involved as much as he could. I want to push on up the league now.
“It’s been a little strange at right-back, I did play there for around 20 games in a season when I was younger, and I’ve played at centre-half so I’m not totally out of my depth.
“But I’ll readily admit it’s not my position and it isn’t always the easiest role to fill.
“But when I’m out there, all I’ll be doing is trying my hardest to help the team win games, and I don’t mind if that’s a right-back or midfield.”
The Blues face a fight in January to keep hold of Port Vale central midfielder Ryan Lloyd, who is subject of bid from Southport, managed by former Blues boss Steve Burr, after his current loan deal with Chester expired on Sunday.
The 22-year-old has been a focal part of Chester’s season and George would love to see him remain at the club, but the Sandgrounders are in pole position to strike a deal.
“Ryan has been brilliant for us, he’s a great lad on and off the pitch,” George added.
“Obviously the gaffer, the lads, the fans want Ryan to stay but it has to be the best decision now for Ryan and for his career.
“I’m sure the gaffer will do all he can to keep him.”