EVAN HORWOOD has ‘no complaints’ over his new short-term contract and is determined to earn a longer stay with Chester.
The versatile left-sided player, who made 24 appearances at full-back or in midfield last season, has been handed an initial six-month contract with the Blues, but has been assured he will be handed an extension if he can stay injury-free.
That has proved easier said than done though for the former Hartlepool United defender, who picked up a broken nose and fractured ribs last campaign, before damaging ligaments in his knee away at Torquay United on April 1, curtailing his season a month early.
“I spoke to the gaffer before the injury happened and we spoke about a new contract, but obviously when you get another injury like that it does make you think it might not happen,” the 31-year-old said.
“So when I went in and got offered a deal I was pleased, but I was initially disappointed to be only offered six months.
“But then when I took away the emotion of it, I realised it was a pretty fair deal for both parties. The gaffer said the budget is there for a one-year deal, but he wants to make sure I don’t get another injury first. So I’ve no complaints in that regard and I’m determined to show I’m worth another six-month extension.
“That’s fair enough to be honest because I’ve had the bad knee injury plus I’ve broken my nose and ribs since signing for Chester.
“So now I need to focus on staying fit and getting my place back in the team, because it won’t be easy.
“Life has changed a fair bit in the past 12 months for us with having a baby. It’s been tough sometimes balancing things out, with my partner being off on maternity too. But now I’m hopeful I can get back to focusing on my football and hopefully having a successful season with Chester.”
Horwood feared the worst when suffering the knee injury at Plainmoor, going down off the ball having turned to begin to track back from his advanced midfield position.
He has recently been handed the all-clear by medical staff and is back running and focused on regaining full fitness prior to pre-season.
“Thankfully I’ve had the all-clear now from the doctors, I’ve been running on it in straight lines for about two weeks now,” he continued.
“Hopefully I will get the nod this week to start turning on it too and I can build my work up. I’ve been in the gym every day and I want to get myself in the best possible shape ahead of pre-season, but my pre-season has already started.
“It was a strange one, I was just turning at Torquay and it just went, it wasn’t a tackle or anything and you worry because sometimes those are the worse ones.
“I didn’t think it’d be that bad but when we assessed it, it meant my season was over. I thought I’d need surgery but thankfully it’s just required rest and hasn’t needed an operation.”
Horwood insists the Blues’ players won’t be dwelling on the miserable end to last season, where the side took just 13 points from mid-December onwards and slumped to eight consecutive home defeats.
“Last season is done and dusted now and it’s forgotten about as far as I’m concerned,” he added.
“Of course it’s frustrating how we finished, but you’re only as good as your last game and we’ve got to show we’re good enough when the season kicks off again.
“If you’d switched last season around and we’d finished it like we started it, people wouldn’t be complaining. Overall we finished a bit lower than we should have done but we did plenty to keep ourselves up in that first-half of the season.
“I enjoy my football at Chester and I’ll try to encourage the younger players, but as a group we need to move forward now and last season is in the back of the mind.”
Kane Richards has signed a one-year deal at National League outfit Dover Athletic.
- Chester have announced their season ticket prices for the 2017/18 season with the early bird offer available today.
Supporters have until June 30 to secure their Harry McNally Terrace ticket at the reduced price, with adults priced at £255, concessions (incl. 19-21 year olds) at £170, 12-18 year-olds at £50 and under 12s offered a free season ticket with a full-paying adult.
Tickets in the Maxiflow Stand and Swettenham Chemists Community Stand are priced at £306 for adults, £204 for concessions, £50 for 12-18 year-olds and again, under 12s are free with an adult.
Chester’s ticket office will be open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, and also open on Saturday, June 25, which is also the deadline for existing season ticket holders to claim their own seats.
See full story in the Chester Leader