EVEN a ‘broken leg’ wouldn’t have stopped Ryan Astles from carrying on in the cross-border derby after the centre-back played through the pain-barrier for the cause.

Birkenhead-born defender Astles came off second-best in a challenge with Wrexham striker Ntumba Massanka just 10 minutes into the fierce derby clash last Wednesday, and needed eight stiches in his ankle in order to patch himself up.

But Astles carried on manfully for the remainder of the match and was unfortunate to be on the losing side, after the Blues came off second-best in a 1-0 defeat despite dominating for long periods, especially in the second-half.

Now Astles and team-mates including Tom Shaw, Craig Mahon and John McCombe, have a week to regain fitness ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bromley.

“I was never going to come off. If I had broken my leg I would have stayed on,” he declared.

“It is hard to talk after that but we have got 10 days to prepare for the next game (Bromley) and we need to go and pick up those three points.

“Everyone is gutted as we should never have got beat in that game but obviosuly we did, and we’ve got to put that behind us and move on and pick up points in the coming weeks.

“Hopefully the 10 days will help us out. We’ve been down to the bare bones, there’s some lads getting back fit but we’ve lost a few again here.

“Hopefully this week will give our lads the chance they need to get back fit and give us a boost ahead of next weekend.”

The 23-year-old centre-back, one of the Blues best performers this term, bemoaned the fact Chester failed to seriously test Wrexham goalkeeper Chris Dunn during their defeat at the Deva, despite rattling the post twice and seeing two strong appeals for a penalty waved away, after Lathaniel Rowe-Turner felt he’d been hauled to the ground and Chris Holroyd looked to have handled in the area.

“We didn’t deserve to get beat, but on the other hand we didn’t test their keeper,” said Astles.

“One set piece has won the game. We had chances but didn’t test the keeper.

“I don’t think they have had a shot really. The only shot they had was the goal.

“It’s hurt us a lot and we are all gutted because we know we shouldn’t have got beat and at least took a point away from it.

“But it’s hard to say things after the game. We didn’t deserve to get beat but obviously we did and we’re all gutted.

“They went 1-0 up and sat in and invited pressure on themselves but they dealt with it well to be fair. But we’re really disappointed we didn’t test their keeper once all game.

“First-half he was flapping at crosses coming in but we didn’t work him enough. You take a shot and you never know what might happen.”

Performances under new boss Marcus Bignot – now nine matches into his tenure at the club – have picked up significantly but the hard facts are the Blues have taken just four points from their past four games and Astles knows that has to improve if Chester are to haul themselves out of the bottom four.

“It’s a results business and we’ve only picked up four points from four games,” he added. “We should have picked up a point at Maidstone, we should have gone and beat Eastleigh and we should have picked up another point against Wrexham.

“We can work on other things we’ve done right and wrong, but we’ve got to move on and we’ve got to pick up points in the next couple of weeks.”

n Chester winger Jordan Chapell has joined Stalybridge Celtic on-loan, initially until January.

The Sheffield-born midfielder has struggled for minutes under Marcus Bignot and links up with former Blues boss Steve Burr at Bower Fold.