CITY OUT TO BUILD ON POINT
Blues will be out to avenge an opening day thrashing
at Dagenham & Redbridge when the promotion chasing
Daggers visit Deva Stadium tomorrow.
City were thumped 6-0 the
last time the sides met with Simon Davies’
side beaten in every department. Just six months
earlier the Blues were beaten 6-2 at the same venue!
Chester stopped the rot when they picked up their
first point in seven matches last Saturday, although
they will regard the draw with Exeter City as two
points lost after a couple of great chances went
begging during the 0-0 stalemate. The draw saw City
slip to 21st in League Two just five points above
the drop zone, having played a game more that their
nearest relegation rivals Grimsby Town and Bournemouth.
Paul Linwood is available following suspension and
manager Mark Wright is hoping that midfielder Damien
Mozika will be able to return following a hamstring
injury picked up at Lincoln City at the end of January,
seven games ago.
The Daggers are enjoying a successful season as
they chase promotion to League One for the first
time. They are currently ninth, just three points
from a play-off place, but were surprisingly beaten
1-0 at home by Bournemouth in midweek. They have
a good away record winning two and drawing five
of their last seven league matches on the road.
With the Blues still appearing to be under a transfer
embargo Wright must make do with the current squad
as he awaits the all-clear to bring in loan signings.
He criticised the footballing auhorities saying:
“They’re stopping us from keeping our
status in this league and I think that’s very,
very unfair of the governing body.”
“There’s people who will do us favours
and let us have loans for no money at all, but it’s
still a no. That’s killing a club that wants
to stay in this league and wants to keep trying.”
“We need two strikers and that hasn’t
changed since I got here. The people we had in mind
have gone to other places. There’s one big
one left who could go any day and if we miss out
on him I don’t know if I can find any more.
So we’ve got to be very, very quick about
21 February 2009
reported that assistant manager Steve Bleasdale
has been sacked by the club following a meeting
between owner Steve Vaughan and manager Mark
Wright this morning.
Wright told the Chester Chronicle: “Steve
Bleasdale has left the football club. I’m
not happy with certain things and both the
chairman and myself have asked him to stay
“There are a few things we’re
not happy about and we’ll just have
to get on with it. There are some things behind
the scenes which I feel very, very let down
about and which I’m not prepared to
elaborate on at this time.”
Picture © Evening
CITY RUE MISSED CHANCES
Blues secured their first point in seven matches
at the weekend
but will be wondering how they didn’t record
their first win of 2009 after Richie Partridge
and Ryan Lowe (left), who took the
captain’s armband in place of the suspended
Paul Linwood, both missed guilt-edged chances
against high-flying Exeter City. Chester’s
young side with 16-year-old Ben Jones starting
more that matched their opponents. Wright was full
of praise for John Danby, Shaun Kelly, Kevin Roberts
Wilson all of whom played with injuries.
Manager Mark Wright was more than happy about his team's performance.
He said: “To
Saturday’s against Exeter was fantastic. I
feel a point for the team is long overdue
because we should have had our just rewards way
“Kevin Roberts went down in the first half
with a swollen ankle, but he played on. John
and Laurence Wilson both played with groin injuries,
and Shaun Kelly played with a knee injury.”
created two great chances against Exeter.
was in and only had to lift
the ball over their keeper, but it came back
out to Ryan Lowe who could have taken another
touch rather than hit it early and see it go
past the post.”
at the death, he decided to poke the ball early
left foot because he
thought the keeper was coming, but if he had
taken an extra touch it would have been a goal.”
“For all the effort
the players have been putting in and for all
the things that have been
going on behind the scenes it would have been
great to have got a victory.”
Picture © Evening
The youth team have
dropped down to 13th in the Puma Youth Alliance
table following a 4-0 defeat at Oldham Athletic
fixtures | Table
SELECTION PROBLEMS AGAIN FOR CITY
Mark Wright is hoping that injured duo Damien Mozika
and Ryan Lowe will be fit to face promotion contenders
Exeter City at Deva Stadium tomorrow.
Both missed the midweek defeat at Shrewsbury Town.
With the squad already stretched Wright must make
do without both Paul Linwood and Jay Harris through
suspension for the visit of the Grecians.
The visitors, promoted from the Blue Square Premier
last summer, currently lie in the last play-off
spot and are only three points off the top three.
They have won six times on their travels so far
this season and are currently unbeaten on four games.
The two sides last
met in November when the home side, despite
a penalty save by John Danby, ran out 2-0 winners
at St James Park.
18 February 2009
SUSPENSION FOR HARRIS
Harris has received a three match suspension following
his red card in the 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town
The midfielder was dismissed in the 79th minute
for a tackle on Chris Humphrey. He will now miss
the home game against Exeter City on Saturday, and
the home clash a week later with Dagenham & Redbridge
followed by the midweek trip to Wycombe Wanderers
– all three sides are pushing for promotion.
City were already a goal down when Harris saw red,
the Shrews scoring the only goal of the game in
the 57th minute as Richard Walker scored from close
range. The Blues remain in 20th position but have
now played two more games than their relegation
Manager Mark Wright said: “Considering we
had a depleted squad I thought we did very well
for 45 minutes. In the second half we could have
been 2-0 up because Kevin Ellison hit the post and
Richie Partridge missed an open goal.”
I think they all started to feel sorry for themselves
again. But we had to go for it. We had to push Laurence
Wilson up the field and I thought he had a very
good game in midfield against their winger, Chris
Wright’s post match interview
© Evening Leader
SUPPORTERS TRUST MEETING
The Supporters Trust
are holding a Special General Meeting tomorrow night
(Thursday) at the Bull & Stirrup pub in Northgate
Street. All Trust members are urged to attend, non
members can join on the night for just £5.00.
The meeting will start at 20:00hrs.
16 February 2009
INJURIES PILE UP FOR TROUBLED CITY
key players goalkeeper John Danby (left) and midfielder
rated doubtful for tomorrow night’s clash at
promotion chasing Shrewsbury Town. They have joined
Damien Mozika, Shaun Kelly, James Vaughan and Tony
Dinning in a long list of injuries. Danby has been
for weeks whilst Lowe picked up a knock towards the
end of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Morecambe and
looks set to miss the clash against one of his former
Manager Mark Wright said: “The boys are trying, but everyone
knows what we’ve got – just 11 players on the
pitch and five kids on the bench. John Danby,
James Vaughan, and Ryan Lowe are now all struggling
with injuries and it looks
like they could be missing for tomorrow’s match
Just like the previous weekend at Brentford, City
shipped three goals in the opening half at Christie
Park on Saturday to leave the game all but over.
The Blues did fight back in the second period and
pulled a consolation goal back through Laurence
Wilson but this latest defeat leaves them just
seven points from a relegation spot with fellow
strugglers Bournemouth, Barnet and Grimsby Town
all having a game in hand. City have to play all
three before the end of the season.
As if fielding a strong team for tomorrow’s
task wasn’t difficult enough their opponents
boast the best home record in the division with
12 wins and a draw out of 16 matches.
Picture © Evening
GETTING ON WITH IT
are in League Two action tomorrow when they travel
to play Morecambe (15:00hrs). Manager Mark Wright’s
injury problems have worsened in the last week with
both Paul Linwood and Shaun Kelly joining Damien
Mozika and Richie Partridge in the treatment room
after they both aggravated existing injuries in
the 3-0 defeat at Brentford. All must be a doubt
for Saturday. Wright does however have Laurence
Wilson back in the frame following the defender’s
three match ban.
Wright was hoping for help from the loan system
before tomorrow’s match at Christie Park but
it looks for now he will have to make do with what
The manager said in the week: “When I first
came to Chester I said I needed five players. I
still need two centre halves, two strikers, and
a big midfield player.”
“I told people when I arrived that if I could
bring players in they would see an improvement.
But players have been allowed to leave and now we
can’t do anything. Kelly and Linwood won’t
be around this weekend, so that’s two more
players out. What am I supposed to do, put more
“I do understand
the position behind the scenes, but as a football
man and as a football manager unless we get recruitments
in we face an impossible situation. I’ll keep
doing the same things and keep trying to motivate
the players, but there’s more going on behind
the scenes than everyone knows about.”
Club owner Steve Vaughan responded: “Mark
Wright needs to just get on with managing the team.
He knew the club’s position when he took the
job on and that situation hasn’t changed.”
Morecambe currently lie eight points ahead of the
Blues in 14th position and will have three ex-City
players in their squad tomorrow. Michael Twiss,
Stuart Drummond and Dave Artell who will all be
out to put one over their former club.
11 February 2009
YOUTH DEFEAT AGAINST RIVALS
Despite another goal
from James Owen the youth team were beaten at home
in the mini-derby by rivals Wrexham yesterday.The
visitors scored the winning goal deep into added
time. The team remain 13th in the Puma Youth Alliance
table while their opponents will have gone top.
fixtures | Table
DINNING DEAL OFF
With the injuries
mounting up at Deva Stadium the Blues have called
off a deal to send Tony Dinning to Grays Athletic
on loan. Chief executive Bob Gray said: “He
is an experienced player and is keen to contribute
and of course assist in turning the recent run of
9 February 2009
WRIGHT DESPERATE FOR LOANEES
3-0 defeat at promotion chasing Brentford on Saturday
had an air of predictability about it. Once again
the Blues were forced to field five youth team players
on the bench as well as play three players who were
clearly unfit. John Danby, Shaun Kelly and Paul
Linwood all struggled through the match and appeared
to aggravate the injuries they already had. Kelly
lasted only 45 minutes before having to be replaced
by youngster Paul Smith.
A first half hat-trick from Charlie MacDonald was
more than enough to see off a City side who have
now failed to score in their last four matches.”
“It becomes impossible for any manager and
a group of players to go out and keep doing things.
We’re starting to bang our heads against a
brick wall. It’s majorly difficult and if
it continues then I’ll be adamant that changes
are made because the 11 players I put out at Brentford
were the only players I had.”
get this club out of the position of fighting against
relegation if I’m allowed to get players in.
If we’re not then the answer is there for
everyone to see.”
teams we play against have got four strikers –
two playing and two on the bench. They’ve
always got someone to come on while we’ve
only got babies to rely on – and that isn’t
fair on them. Paul Smith and Ben Jones both came
on and ran their socks off, but their only kids
of 16. What do people want from them?”
“We are really up against
it – let’s not hide the fact. We’ve
got five kids of 16 years old on the bench, and
three players on the pitch who shouldn’t have
started because they are injured, but they wanted
to fight for the cause, but we have nothing in reserve.”
City are next in action on Saturday when they make
the trip to Morecambe.
Picture © Evening
6 February 2009
Following a pitch
inspection at 13:00hrs tomorrow’s fixture
between Brentford and City is on (despite a local
forecast of -3° tonight!). The inspection was
made by local referee Jarnail Singh as the match
official Graham Horwood was snowbound in Bedfordshire!
TOUGH TEST FOR CITY
play the first of three away games in a week tomorrow
when they visit high-flying Brentford. The Bees,
who lie second in League Two four points behind
Wycombe Wanderers, have only lost once at Griffin
Park this season.
The Blues turned in their best performance of the
season last October when they beat
Brentford 3-0 at Deva Stadium. Goals that night
from Ryan Lowe (2) and Kevin Roberts inflicted the
first League defeat of the season for the Londoners.
Blues manager Mark Wright will be without the suspended
Laurence Wilson tomorrow and has injury concerns
over Damien Mozika and Richie Partridge, both of
whom have hamstring injuries, as well as defenders
Paul Linwood and Shaun Kelly. Goalkeeper John Danby
also has a knee injury. Glenn Rule is available
following his two match ban.
Brentford welcome back Nathan Elder from a four
match suspension. Their man of the moment is on-loan
Ipswich Town striker Jordan Rhodes who scored a
hat-trick in last weeks 3-1 win at Shrewsbury Town.
4 February 2009
MORE HOME WOE FOR CITY
second half goals inflicted on City their second
home defeat in four days as Rochdale, like Gillingham
on Saturday, completed the double over the Blues.
With the squad getting stretched by the day, manager
Mark Wright was forced to field five youth team
players on the bench last night, they had less that
20 minutes League experience between them.
Although City had competed well in the opening period,
once again they failed to really test the visitors
goalkeeper. The introduction of ‘Dale substitute
Lee McEvilly ten minutes after the break changed
the complexion of the game. He set up Joe Thompson
for the first goal within a minute of coming on
and added a decisive second goal ten minutes later.
City manager Mark Wright said: “I get disappointed
about the people who sit behind our dug out. They
must be silly people if they think for one moment
that I’m getting rid of players.”
“They were calling for
me to change the game, but who with? A 16 or 17-year-old
boy in a game that isn’t
going well for us and in a game that might dent
his confidence? I’m
not built that way. I don’t
really want to do that, but I threw on Lloyd Ellams
because I wanted to give him a go.”
“But we had no other
professional players available. Damien Mozika and
Stephen Vaughan are both out with injuries, and
both Laurence Wilson and Glenn Rule were serving
suspensions. I was really pleased for Paul Rutherford
because I thought he played ever so well and showed
he was lively.”
City now embark on a run of three successive away
games starting on Saturday at second placed Brentford.
2 February 2009
HUGHES JOINS BEES
Hughes has joined League Two side Barnet,
he has signed a contract with the Bees until
the end of the season. Hughes joined the Blues
in July 2007 after impressing then manager
Bobby Williamson in a pre-season trial period.
He had previously had a trial at Underhill.
Hughes, a former Tottenham Hotspur trainee,
has made two full international caps for Northern
Ireland as well as appearing on twelve occasions
for the country’s U21 side.
Hughes has scored four goals in 43+4 appearances
© Evening Leader
THREE MORE ALSO ON THE MOVE
McManus and Andy Mitchell have both joined Welsh
Premier League side Bangor City. Neither player
was unable to hold down a regular first team spot
this season after breaking through from the youth
team. McManus scored two goals in 6+3 appearance
this season while Mitchell made four appearances
as a substitute.
Johnson has had his contract terminated. He
is expected to join Austin Aztecs in America. Chester-born
Johnson scored one goal in 8+3 appearances this
1 February 2009
LACK OF FIRE POWER FRUSTRATES WRIGHT
suffered their seventh home defeat of the season
on Saturday as a second half goal from Andy Barcham
gave Gillingham the double over the Blues. City
deserved a point from the encounter but a lack of
a cutting edge in front of goal was exposed again
as chances were created but not taken.
The transfer embargo, enforced by the Football League,
has meant that manager Mark Wright must do with
the squad he has until the end of the season and
injuries and suspension is stretching the small
squad to the limit. As a bonus defender Shaun Kelly
did return from injury earlier than perhaps expected.
Manager Wright said after the defeat: “We
are creating chances but we just haven’t got
a predator in the box like an Ian Rush or anyone
like a Daryl Clare who played for us when we were
in the Conference.”
used to wait for any little scraps that came his
way inside the box so he could bang any chances
into the back of the net. We haven’t got
that kind of a player, so it’s hard work
for us at the moment.
“People were asking why
I didn’t put Paul McManus on, but he wouldn’t
have made an impression in that sort of a game.
That’s a shame for him, but we need to get
him out on loan to play games.”
“I’ve got a lot
of time and a lot of respect for the chairman and
the football club. We know what we want, but we
just can’t get it. It’s disappointing
because the players I have identified to come in
would have turned things round.”
On the transfer embargo Wright added: “I
came back to Chester as manager thinking I could
bring players in. I was told that would be the
case and that the club would lift the embargo,
but obviously things have happened behind the
scenes and we can’t do it.”
Saturday’s defeat dropped City to 20th in
League Two. They are next in action on Tuesday night
(weather permitting) when promotion chasing Rochdale
visit Deva Stadium. Dale currently lie sixth following
their 4-2 win at Aldershot Town on Saturday.
Former Chester player
Tommy Best was at the match at Deva Stadium on Saturday.
At the age of 88 Tommy now lives in Hereford where
he is still a keen football follower and visited
Chester for the first time in 60 years to watch
the home game against Gillingham.