ROSS KILLOCK admits his return to first-team action with Chester was ‘bittersweet’ but hopes he has done enough to earn himself a recall to the starting line-up.
The 22-year-old defender watched on in horror from the substitutes bench at the Gallagher Stadium on Saturday as the Blues capitulated during an abysmal first-half showing, which saw them trail struggling Maidstone United 4-0 at half-time.
But things improved both for Killock and his team-mates in the second period, as the full-back was introduced as a half-time replacement for Wade Joyce and the Blues were able to restore some pride with goals from top scorer James Alabi and Sam Hughes.
Killock, a free transfer summer signing from Leeds United, has suffered terrible injury problems since arriving at Chester including calf and hamstring issues, which had previously limited him to just 10 minutes of first-team action in October’s 0-0 draw at Macclesfield Town.
“It was good to get on, obviously left-back is a bit unfamiliar for me but the manager told me what he wanted me to do, to go on and try to tighten us up a bit,” explained Killock, who is more used to a right-back or centre-half role.
“I thought I did okay, it was great to be back out there but it was bittersweet really with the result and the manner of the defeat.
“The legs feel fine, I’ve been training for five or six weeks and I’ve had the two reserve games (TNS and Wigan).
“They aren’t as high tempo as that but it’s been great to get minutes on the pitch, and from my perspective it was important to get through that 45 minutes here, mentally more than anything.
“I had the 90 minutes the week before against TNS too so I’ve had a big chunk of football now in a space of a week to 10 days, so hopefully the gaffer has seen enough from me to keep my place in the side for Southport next week.”
Killock was unable to affect the on-pitch debacle in the opening 45 minutes, which saw the Stones lead 3-0 after just 14 minutes and extend their lead further as Kevin Lokko bagged his second goal on the stroke of the interval.
“The gaffer came in at half-time and told us exactly what he thought and we agreed that it was unacceptable,” he said.
“The fans have travelled down a long way and it simply wasn’t good enough.
“We’re 2-0 down inside six minutes and that’s not like us at all. To go 2-0 down, never mind three and then four, it just isn’t acceptable to perform like that.
“The lads got in at half-time and gave it a good go in the second-half but it was too little too late unfortunately.”
Asked if Blues’ boss Jon McCarthy read Chester the riot act at the break, Killock replied: “It was and it wasn’t, we knew it wasn’t acceptable and we know we can’t perform like that.
“The first one has gone in, then the second and third and we crumbled really.
“We’ve not been like that all season, it’s not like us. Everyone talks about the good run we’d been on but that’s gone now, we’ve lost four in a row and we need to pick up some results.
“I’d say the first two games at Dover and Dagenham we were unfortunate and we were unlucky not to get something, but you make your own luck and we’ve played quite well. But the last two weeks haven’t been good enough.
“Obviously the Gateshead game wasn’t as much of a beating as this one but we still weren’t nowhere near good enough and we need to get to that.”