RYAN LLOYD would relish a return to Chester on a permanent basis following his release by Port Vale.
The midfielder has spent most of the past 18 months on-loan with Chester, making 71 appearances and scoring three times, after finding minutes hard to come by at Vale Park.
Despite their relegation into League Two, Vale opted to release the 22-year-old at the end of the season after returning from another fruitful campaign at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium, where he started 39 of the Blues’ 46 National League fixtures.
Lloyd, a popular member of the Blues’ dressing room, has received interest from a handful of National League clubs but his preferred destination remains a return to Chester if a deal can be struck with boss Jon McCarthy.
“I’ve been away on holiday which gave me chance to consider the offers I’ve had,” he explained.
“I’ve thought about it and I keep coming back to Chester in terms of where I want to play my football next season.
“I’ve spoken to Macca, I’m hoping he might be able to bring me back in. But I’m also aware he’s brought in a few players these past couple of weeks and they’ve spent a bit of money, so we’ll see what can be done.
“I’d be delighted if I could go back to Chester. I’ve been happy there for 18 months, I’ve been enjoying my football, I get on well with the lads and I like working for the gaffer.
“It’s down to the gaffer and the board, I hope they can do something for me and I hope I’m there next season.
“There’s interest from other National League clubs but if I’m honest, I’m not a big one for travelling long distances and hopefully I’m able to go back to Chester.”
Newcastle-under-Lyme born Lloyd has been at Vale Park since 2011 but has been restricted to just 17 appearances during that period, in which he has been out on loan at both Chester and Tamworth.
He explained his frustrations at being ‘overlooked’ by the club, and feels he could have made the step up to League Two football next season if a new contract had been offered.
“In myself, I feel I could have played and done well in League Two,” he continued. “I don’t see a massive difference between that league and the National League. I think I could’ve done a job, but Vale didn’t see it that way.
“I feel they always looked at me like I was still a young kid, I never got given an opportunity in the first-team. It’s frustrating being overlooked but that’s how it goes and it’s time for a fresh start now, I’d been there a long time.”
Lloyd, who found himself out on the left-side of midfield towards the end of last season, would relish a return to the heart of the Blues’ line-up, and admits he has been pleasantly surprised by some of the signings McCarthy has been able to attract to the Deva this summer, with Paul Turnbull the last new arrival last week.
“I feel I’m at my best in the centre, at the start of last season I felt I was playing well and we were flying really,” he said.
“Results were going well, we were well organised as a group for a long period. But then we picked up some bad injuries and with a small squad it caught up with us.
“It only takes losing that five or 10 per cent and it has a big impact in this division. We lost that sharpness we had and it took its toll towards the end.
“But with the new players coming in, with more experience, I really think Chester can do something next season.
“I think if there’s a whole squad there all fully behind the manager, everybody buying into the manager and his methods, then the play-off positions should be the aim for everyone.
“Those signings, the likes of Ross Hannah and John McCombe, they can make a massive difference in those January or February games when you need to grind out results.
“You don’t go under and lose 1-0, as we did too often, you turn those draws into wins and defeats into draws. The new signings could make a big difference.”
See full story in the Chester Leader