SECURING the services of goalkeeper Alex Lynch for another season at Chester was a ‘no-brainer’ according to Jon McCarthy.
The Blues’ shot stopper, who made 30 appearances in league and cup last season, was understudy to Liam Roberts having initially joined from Bala Town, but grabbed his opportunity once Roberts was sidelined with a serious groin injury suffered during the 1-1 draw at York City in October.
Chester boss McCarthy was impressed by the 22-year-old’s character and application during a testing period at the end of last season, as the Blues' suffered eight straight home defeats and collected just 13 points from the turn of the year, to finish 19th.
“It was a ‘no-brainer’ to get Alex back on board for next season,” explained McCarthy, who is exploring the options available to him to sign a back-up goalkeeper for next season.
“He’s a proper goalkeeper, he’s still learning and he’s a great character to have around the place.
“Alex was thrown in at the deep end but he stepped up massively. He kept a clean sheet on his full debut at Macclesfield and has grown and grown throughout the season. He’s now a firm fans’ favourite and he’s grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
“Liam Roberts played a significant part in that outstanding run during the first part of the season. He kept all those clean sheets in a row, he was flying and making fantastic saves.
“Then he gets a freak injury and was out for a couple of months. In the space of a couple of weeks we lost Roberts, Akintunde, Mahon, all together and that was a real blow.
“But Alex got his chance and took it and his performances have backed up the ability we saw from him when we brought him in.”
McCarthy was also delighted to secure midfielder Matty Waters on a two-year deal last week, and believes the 19-year-old’s Blues’ career could follow a similar path to that of out-of-contract defender Sam Hughes, who looks set to move on from Chester this summer after some superb performances attracted the interest of Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Derby County.
“The club have moved to protect our best interests once again and Matty’s two-year contract is evidence of that,” he said.
“We brought Sam Hughes through and now we have Matty and the three younger lads following on. A two-year deal for a young player of his ability is a significant statement from the club and I get the chance to work with a technically gifted player for another two years which is fantastic.
“We’ve looked to follow the same pattern as Sam. A year ago, Sam wasn’t a first-team regular but he’d got that first-team experience and was ready to step up, similar to Matty.
“Sam made the jump quicker than we could’ve expected, probably due to his physical attributes, but we feel we'll see that developed with Matty. He has a hunger and desire to improve and that gives him a chance.
“We now know our system works, we know we’re doing the right things as a football club. We’ve brought on the likes of Sam, and someone like James Alabi is a young lad we’ve seen improve beyond recognition from the player we signed.
"We hope to show in the next few weeks that we've got a chief executive who is really looking to take full advantage of how we've been able to develop our younger players."