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30 January 2009

It’s reported that forgotten men Paul Butler (left) and David Mannix could return for City tomorrow as Mark Wright’s depleted squad entertain promotion chasing Gillingham at Deva Stadium (15:00hrs).

Suspensions and injuries have reduced the squad to the bare bones. Neither player has made a first team appearance since the home defeat against Leeds United in the Carling Cup back in August.

Butler is currently taking his coaching badges while Mannix is on gardening leave. Manager Wright said: “The bottom line of it is, we’ve got to see where Paul Butler is. At the end of the day, if he’s here, then he needs to be playing and needs to be fit. If other people go down, he needs to be around.”

“I think the boy Mannix is going to come back into the club. He’s been on gardening leave through another incident, but he comes back in. We’ve got too many players out.”

A Football League transfer embargo has meant that no signings to boost the squad could be made during the January transfer window.

Having picked up red cards on Tuesday night, both Laurence Wilson and Glenn Rule are suspended for tomorrow’s clash though James Vaughan will be available again following his two game ban.

Gillingham, who were beaten at home by Lincoln City in midweek, currently lie seventh in League Two, three points from an automatic promotion spot. Prior to the Imps defeat the Gills had won their previous three games including two away from the Priestfield at Morecambe and Port Vale.

The sides last met in October with the home side running out 2-0 winners through two goals in four minutes from Tottenham Hotspur loan players Andy Barcham and Leigh Mills. City played much better on the day than the scoreline would suggest and dominated for long periods without a cutting edge.

Gills manager Mark Stimson will have Simon King, Mark McCammon and Albert Jarrett all available following suspensions and injuries.

League table

Picture © Evening Leader

28 January 2009

City manager Mark Wright was critical of both Laurence Wilson and Glenn Rule after the pair were both sent-off in a couple of minutes of madness during the second half of last night’s 3-0 defeat at Port Vale. The Blues had the better of the first half with both Ryan Lowe and Kevin Ellison going close in the early minutes. At the other end John Danby was rarely threatened, when he was called into action he punched a Dave Brammer effort clear midway through the opening period.

Danny Glover opened the scoring for the Valiants on 59 minutes before the Blues pushed the self destruct button in the 71st minute. First Wilson was given a straight red card for his challenge on Steve Thompson, and a minute later Rule received his marching orders for a second yellow card. It was the youngsters second red of the season. To compound the double blow, Rob Taylor netted the second goal a minute later and James Lawrie wrapped up the points in the closing minutes.

Wilson looks likely to be banned for three matches with immediate effect, while Rule could receive a two match ban.

Manager Mark Wright said after the defeat: “The challenge by Laurence Wilson was a disgrace. He’s cost the boys the game after they’ve run around on a hard night on a big pitch.”

“Laurence Wilson has cost us dearly. That boy has got so much talent in his locker and yet he doesn’t always perform. And when he does perform he gets dictated to.”

“Their lad was going nowhere, but Laurence jumped into the tackle and swiped the lad. I thought it was a sending off. I can’t argue or do anything about it. He got sent off for something that was absolutely bizarre. He didn’t need to do it, so I’m really annoyed and I’ll make him watch the tape.”

“But I’m more annoyed about his reaction about what he does in a game because he hasn’t done it and he’s not doing it for Chester City. But I’m criticising Laurence Wilson and our keeper, John Danby, and it’s time they grew up because mistakes are happening too many times.”

“John Danby could have come out and collected the ball for their first goal to make life a lot easier. You have to know the players that you play with.”

27 January 2009

City travel the short distance to the Potteries tonight for a League Two match against Port Vale. Blues manager mark Wright could be without the services of Damien Mozika after the French midfielder picked up a hamstring injury during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Lincoln City. One player who will return to the squad is Laurence Wilson who has now completed his one match suspension.

The Valiants lie just one place above City, victory for the Blues tonight would see them move above their opponents. Defensive errors cost City the reverse fixture as Port Vale ran out 2-1 winners at Deva Stadium back in October.

Picture © Evening Leader

It appears that here will be no more signings for City until the end of the season. It’s reported that a transfer embargo placed on the club due to a late payment to certain players.

Club owner Steve Vaughan said: “Mark Wright has identified a number of players to bring in to strengthen the squad. It would be nice to strengthen what we already have, but I’m afraid we're not in a position to do that at the moment and I will ensure the embargo on us is enforced. I have to look at paying the club’s bills and propping up any shortfalls which are haemorrhaging away any money we have at the football club.”

Despite no new players coming in Vaughan has reassured fans that that all bids for Ryan Lowe and Kevin Ellison have been rejected and the pair will be with the club until the end of the season. Vaughan added: “I must insist that Kevin Ellison and Ryan Lowe are not for sale in this current transfer window. Kevin and Ryan are our two main assets of this football club and we need them both to ensure we retain our Football League status.”

26 January 2009

An Anthony Barry goal, his first for the club, helped a patched-up City side gain a valuable point at Lincoln City on Saturday. Barry scored a 30-yarder to give the Blues the lead at the interval but Lee Frecklington equalised for the home side ten minutes after the break.

With both James Vaughan an Laurence Wilson suspended, manager Mark Wright had to reshuffle his meager pack with Tony Dinning returning to the starting line-up and former Imp Kevin Ellison playing at full-back. Once again youth team player Ben Jones came off the bench in the closing minutes for another promising show.

Wright reflected: “For the side that I put out, and for the three 16 year olds I had on the bench, the result said a lot.”

“I was quite pleased for our young striker Ben Jones who went on as a substitute for the last ten minutes and did a decent job and he showed he isn’t scared of anybody. Anthony Barry scores with those shots in training all the time. When he catches one of those shots he can score all the time. To score a goal like that in a game is fantastic for him.”

“I certainly felt we should have got a penalty when Ben Jones went down. He wanted to stay on his feet and I felt it was a certain penalty.”

“Why the referee didn’t give a penalty is beyond me, but Ryan (Lowe) also thought he should have had a penalty earlier in the game. I couldn’t really tell because it was a little bit too far away, but it looked like a penalty from where we were.”

City are back in action at Port Vale tomorrow when defender Wilson will be available to play following his suspension.

League table

Picture © Evening Leader

23 January 2009

Blues manager Mark Wright will have to reshuffle his defence for tomorrow’s game at Sincil bank against Lincoln City. Laurence Wilson and James Vaughan are both suspended, while Shaun Kelly is sidelined through injury.

Wright said: “They are a big, big side so it’s a major, major, stern test. Without having a full squad it will be very hard, but we’re going to go there and do the best we can and still go for the win. It’s going to be hard because we’ve got less players this weekend.”

Once again the lack of depth in the squad means that the substitutes bench is likely to contain some youth team players. The Imps, managed by former Chester favourite Peter Jackson, lie mid-table and will be looking to complete the double following a 2-0 win at Deva Stadium in October.

21 January 2009

A youthful City side were beaten 7-0 by Crewe Alexandra in the semi-final of the Cheshire Premier Cup in front of a crowd of 231 at Deva Stadium last night. Of the starting X1 only Tony Dinning, Paul Rutherford, Paul McManus and Glenn Rule have started first team matches for the Blues.

Chester City: Ryan Blears, Glenn Rule, Frazer Ablett, Ryan Williams (James Owen 32), Kristian Platt, Connell Rawlinson, Paul Rutherford (Chris Newman 58), Tony Dinning, Ben Jones, Paul McManus (Lloyd Ellams 58), Andy Mitchell. Subs not used: Sean Dowling, Paul Smith.

20 January 2009

The Blues are in action at Deva Stadium tonight when they host neighbours Crewe Alexandra in the semi-final of the Cheshire Premier Cup. Alex beat Stockport County in the first round. Manager Mark Wright is expected to use the occasion to play some of the promising youth players such at Kristian Platt and Ben Jones as well as first team regulars. The match kicks off at 19:00hrs. Admission is £5.00 and £2.00 for OAPs and juniors.

In the other semi-final Macclesfield Town will host Tranmere Rovers. The competition has been played on an infrequent basis over the years, the club last won the competition in 1980/81.

19 January 2009
City manager Mark Wright was critical of his defence following Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by Chesterfield. The Blues fell behind on the half hour as Laurence Wilson headed an inswinging corner into his own net. Seven minutes after the break Damien Mozika headed the equaliser after Mark Hughes had picked out the midfielder with a left wing cross.

Midway through the half the Spireites introduced the experienced pair Jamie Winter and Martin Gritton and both justified their inclusion with goals in the final 20 minutes as the visitors stepped up a gear.

Wright said: “We said at half-time that we needed to squeeze the play – and for 25 minutes we did just that but for one reason or another we dropped deep and allowed them to play balls in and hurt us. It is a steep learning curve for a lot of the players. They are a young bunch but have got to be men and leaders out there.”

“They are the quietest lot I have worked with but we need people who are going to boss the play and be nasty to each other. They need to be proactive rather than reactive. I don’t think John (Danby) had the best of games. He has held his hands up and said that he was at fault for the second goal.”

“Do I think we deserved to get beat 3-1 at home? No, I really think we didn’t. Could we have got a result out of that again? Yes we could.”

“After 25 minutes of the second half, with the wind at our backs, we looked good and should have scored more than one. But you have to take your chances when you’re on top.”

“For whatever reason, being young and naive, we dropped deep and, if you drop deep against quality like that, you will get hurt and snotty goals like that will happen. And, to be honest, Jamie Winter made a big difference for them when he came on. He ran the show for the last 20 minutes.”

Wright will have to reshuffle the squad for the next game at Lincoln City on Saturday as they will be without James Vaughan and Wilson who are both suspended.

Manager Mark Wright has revealed that young defender Shaun Kelly faces up to six weeks on the sidleines after picking up a knee injury in last weeks draw against Luton Town.

Picture © Evening Leader

This morning the Inverness Caledonian Thistle website stated that Tony Dinning was to extend his trial at the club next week after a good first weeks training. However, any permanent move may now be in doubt after the Scottish Premier Club sacked their manager Craig Brewster and assistant, ex-City assistant Malcolm Thomson, with immediate effect this afternoon following a run of seven straight league defeats.

16 January 2009

City fans will be hoping the Blues can carry on where they left off on Tuesday night with the visit of mid-table Chesterfield to Deva Stadium tomorrow. After falling behind early on, City turned in a spirited second half showing against Luton Town to fightback and eventually pick up a hard fought point against the Hatters.

The visitors could give a debut to new signing Martin Gritton tomorrow. The former Macclesfield striker came off the bench to score against the Blues at Moss Rose at the end of December. Fellow frontman Jack Lester returns from suspension, captain Rob Page and Dan Gray are also available having recovered from injury.

15 January 2009

Two City players have received suspensions from the Football Association. James Vaughan will miss two matches, the away trips to Lincoln City and Port Vale, after picking up his tenth yellow card against Luton Town. Fellow defender Laurence Wilson has received a one match ban after accumulating his fifth booking of the campaign in the same match and will also miss the trip to Sincil Bank.

14 January 2009

City’s game at Shrewsbury Town postponed at the weekend has been rearranged for Tuesday 17 February, kick-off 19:45hrs.

Goals from Ryan Lowe and Kevin Ellison brought a point against Luton Town at Deva Stadium last night after the Blues had fallen behind to two goals in the opening half hour from Chris Martin and Lewis Emanuel.

Martin turned defender Shaun Kelly to score well from a narrow angle and the Hatters added the second direct from a free-kick straight through the City defensive wall. A foul on Ellison in the area gave City a lifeline and Lowe made no mistake from the spot to reduce the arrears at the interval. The Blues drew level seven minutes after the restart as Ellison was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range.

Manager Mark Wright said after the match: “Although Luton broke out at times, I thought we could hurt them down the sides and when Kevin Ellison went through I thought he should have scored. Luton were better in the first half, but I thought we were better in the second half.”

“There was a lot of good football played, a lot of endeavour, and I think it was a good game for the supporters. But when I used to play, and now when I manage, I’ve never liked open games of football, but we’re playing with the players we’ve got.”

“If I can bring a few players in and do a few things then things would change. But the boys who played against Luton did tremendously well and we’ve got to keep patting them on the back because they are pulling up trees and they are really working hard.”

“I don’t like exciting games as a manager, but even I enjoyed it. It was very good. If that continues, fantastic.”

More photographs | League table

Post match interview with Mark Wright

Picture © Evening Leader
13 January 2009

City will be looking to kick-start 2009 at the third time of asking tonight when Luton Town visit Deva Stadium (19:45hrs). Since their defeat at Macclesfield on 28 December matches against tonight’s opponents and Saturday’s match at Shrewsbury have both fallen victim of the freezing conditions early in the new year.

Manager Mark Wright will have Damien Mozika available following a one match suspension served at Moss Rose. Youth team 16-year-old defender Kristian Platt (left) is also expected to take a place on the substitutes bench. Platt has been the subject of interest from several premiership clubs after a string of fine performances over the last year.

Chester’s youth development manager, Mark Newman said: “Kristian has been watched by a number of Premier League scouts in recent weeks, and it comes as no surprise that official inquiries have been received by the club. The player had a trial with Manchester United a while back, and they have continued to keep tabs on his progress. He has improved immeasurably over the past 12 months and also possesses a tremendous shot.”

Hatters boss Mick Harford has Ed Asafu-Adjaye back in the squad following a groin injury, however both Kevin Nicholls and George Pilkington are ruled out with knee injuries.

Picture © Evening Leader

10 January 2009

Today’s game at Shrewsbury Town was one of many postponed due to a frozen pitch. The Blues are next in action on Tuesday night when Luton Town visit Deva Stadium.

9 January 2009

Midfielder Tony Dinning is to have a one week trial with Scottish Premier League side Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The player, not wanted by manager Mark Wright, is one of three players City are looking to offload.

Chester’s chief executive Bob Gray said : “The Inverness manager, Craig Brewster, contacted us and asked if Tony could spend some time with them. As such, Tony will fly to Scotland on Sunday and spend seven days with Inverness on a trial basis. If Inverness and the player like each other then it could well lead to a permanent transfer. Obviously Tony goes up there with our best wishes.”

Picture © Evening Leader

Striker Ryan Lowe (left) will be looking to add to his twelve goal tally tomorrow when City are in League Two action against his former club Shrewsbury Town at the New Meadow. The playing surface has been covered all week and the ground staff are confident that the game will go ahead despite the seasonal cold weather conditions during the last week.

City recall midfielder Damien Mozika following a one match suspension as they look to start 2009 with a victory following last Saturday’s postponement.

Lowe, looking forward to his return to Shrewsbury said: “I’d love to get one over on Shrewsbury this weekend. Some of the Shrewsbury fans gave me a little bit of stick when I played for Chester against Shrewsbury last time the teams met. I’ll just concentrate on what I know I can do best and I’ll be trying to make my mark by getting on the scoresheet.”

The hosts are currently having a good season and lie fifth, just two points from an automatic promotion place. They boast the best home record in the division with nine victories and a draw from their twelve games played so far. Tomorrow the Shrews will be without striker Grant Holt who is suspended, though former Everton and Plymouth Argyle striker Nick Chadwick takes his place in the squad after signing from Hereford United in the week.

The two sides drew 1-1 when they last met at Deva Stadium in September. Holt gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot before Paul McManus equalised for City just before the break.

Picture © Evening Leader

7 January 2009

There is a supporters meeting in the Blues Bar at Deva Stadium tonight. All are welcome to attend the meeting that will start at 19:30hrs.

6 January 2009

The home League Two match against Luton Town has been rescheduled for Tuesday 13 January. Kick-off at Deva Stadium will be 19:45hrs.

5 January 2009

Club director Ian Anderson has described the decision to call off Saturday’s game against Luton Town as “a farce”. The match was called off after a morning pitch inspection due to the frozen ground but Anderson told the Liverpool Daily Post: “It was a ridiculous decision and taken far too early. The pitch had been covered overnight and the winter sun was beginning to break through.”

“By midday the pitch was totally playable. The decision was a farce. Officials must take responsibility and consider the implications for sponsors, home supporters and the financial problems this causes for lower division clubs. It was fairly obvious to most people that a decision about the weekend fixture against Luton should have been delayed until at least midday.”

3 January 2009

City’s home League Two match against Luton Town today has been postponed due to a frozen pitch. Manchester referee Carl Evans made the decision following an 09:30 inspection.

2 January 2009

With the transfer window now open and manager Mark Wright looking to strengthen the squad, the club have announced that three players, Paul Butler (left), Tony Dinning and David Mannix have been offered to Northwich Victoria on loan. Chester would subsidise the wages of the three players.

Butler and Dinning were involved in a dispute with the club at the end of last season, both have only made two appearances this season. Mannix has made just one full appearance with another from the bench since signing from Accrington Stanley in June 2008.

Club owner Steve Vaughan said: “We need to be moving players out before anyone can come in. The club is losing money hand over fist and I am being continually criticised by some of our fans. Mark Wright has produced a list of players he wants to bring to Chester which is as long as my arm. I’m aware that he wants to strengthen the squad in certain areas, but I’m currently taking stock of the situation.”

He added: “I spoke to Jim Rush, the Northwich Victoria chairman, and told him we were prepared to release Tony Dinning, Paul Butler, and David Mannix, on loan to them and we would fully subsidise the deals.”

Picture © Evening Leader
Chester entertain bottom placed Luton Town at Deva Stadium tomorrow, kick-off 15:00hrs. They will be looking to bounce back after Sunday’s defeat at Macclesfield Town that saw City slip to 18th in League Two, six places but 24 points ahead of their visitors.

The Hatters have though actually picked up 29 points this season (six more that City) but remain bottom having received a -30 point pre-season punishment for financial irregularities.

Midfielder Damien Mozika is available again after serving a one match ban at Moss Rose and may find himself in the side as Luton make their first ever visit to Deva Stadium. The two sides fought a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road the last times they met in September. The home side dominated for much of that match but a Paul McManus goal 13 minutes from time brought a welcome point.

Luton may give a debut to Ian Henderson who signed from Northampton Town. Manager Mick Hartford said: “We go to Chester confident on the back of a good run. We want to start on the front foot and be nice and positive. The Chester strength is up front, and we believe their weakness is the midfield and at the back so we'll set out the team to hopefully beat them.”


































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