ALEX LYNCH admits he became ‘complacent’ as Chester’s number one but has vowed to win back the gloves before the end of the season.

The Holyhead-born goalkeeper was installed as first choice after Marcus Bignot was appointed manager in September, and rewarded his new boss with several fine displays, including a stunning man-of-the-match performance in the goalless draw at Tranmere Rovers.

However, Lynch accepts he was well below par in November’s 2-2 draw at Leyton Orient and 4-0 home defeat against Dagenham, with on-loan stopper Sam Hornby signed shortly after from Port Vale and starting each game since.

“I’m very frustrated not to be playing, but it’s more frustration on my part that I lost my place,” the 22-year-old.

“Two performances I wasn’t good enough – Dagenham and Leyton Orient – and I paid the price. Quite rightly there are consequences if you don’t meet the standards the manager asks for, and I wasn’t at that standard.

“Everyone wants to be playing but Sam has come in and done really well, now it’s my job to keep pushing him every day, train as well as I possibly can and stake my claim for the gloves.

“Maybe I did get complacent. The goalkeeping picture kept changing, I always feel I’m better if I’ve got someone pushing me.

“I’ve probably been competing with some pretty good goalkeepers here, the likes of Robbo (Liam Roberts), Conor (Mitchell), now Sam and it’s good when you have that competition.”

When asked if he could return to the starting line-up if Hornby returns to Port Vale when his current loan deal expires next month, Lynch explained he will be ready to ‘answer the call’ but hopes the 22-year-old will be retained.

“That’s out of my hands, it’s down to the two clubs but I hope they can keep hold of Sam,” he continued.

“We’ve worked well together and whether I am playing or not, you stay professional and ready for the match when needed.

“Obviously I’ve just to keep as sharp as possible and I’ll be ready to answer the call when the manager needs me.”

Hornby is set to retain the gloves to face Gateshead on Saturday, but Lynch knows the importance of two vital matches coming up with Hartlepool United heading to the Deva on Tuesday night, admitting ‘no one wants a relegation of their CV’.

“The Gateshead game is another chance to pick up a good three points, the same when we play Hartlepool. They’re two big games as it can drag two other teams into the relegation fight, and that would give us a better chance of getting ourselves out of it,” Lynch said, with the Blues currently five points adrift of safety.

“It’s begun to click, probably since Halifax, of just how difficult a position we’ve got ourselves into. No one wants a relegation on their CV.

“None of these lads want to go down, we’ve got to the stage where we all needed to come together or it was only headed one way.

“We’re pushing in the right direction, now we just need wins. It doesn’t matter how they come about, whether they are ugly or pretty, but we’ve got to have that belief and passion to win matches.”

The young keeper, who played in the League Two play-off final during his spell at Wycombe Wanderers, hopes last weekend’s FA Trophy exit at the hands of East Thurrock was ‘just a blip’ and not a sign the Blues are reverting to previous poor away displays from last year.

“Apart from last Saturday the lads have been playing well and results have been picking up,” he added.

“Picking up positive results is all that really matters now, it’s about grinding out results.

“You’d hope East Thurrock is just a blip. We’d hoped we’d brushed those bad away performances away in a corner before Saturday, maybe there were signs of it again but we’ve just got to bounce back against Gateshead now.”

n Chester are ‘moving closer’ to an FA tribunal date with Tranmere Rovers regarding compensation for former striker James Alabi.

Alabi, who scored 17 goals in 42 games for the Blues last season, moved to Tranmere in the summer but has since headed out on-loan to Dover Athletic.

The forward was last week set to sign permanently for Ebbsfleet United, but that deal has stalled with the striker’s future currently in limbo.

Chester chief executive Mark Maguire said: “We’ve moved forward regarding James Alabi and I’m looking forward to putting our case to the FA at the tribunal hearing, which we have certainly moved a step closer towards.”