CONSIDERING he was signed just a day before making his debut against Guiseley, it was hardly surprising midfielder Sean McAllister had to stop and ask how to find his way out as he wandered the corridors of Chester’s Swansway Stadium.

But while he may have been lost off the pitch, on it, the 31-year-old looked every inch the experienced Football League player who began his career with Manchester United and spent four years playing at Sheffield Wednesday.

“I thought first five or 10 minutes he looked a bit of a fish out of water, but I think he grew into the game and made the right decisions in possession which we have lacked,” said Chester joint boss Bernard Morley, after McAllister had completed his first 90 minutes for the Blues. “It would be hard to criticise Sean’s performance, he’s done well to be honest with you.

“He looked like he’d been with us all season, it didn’t look like it was his debut.

“He recycled the ball really well and kept it moving. He looked a bit leggy after the first five or 10 minutes, but that’s football when you’ve not played. I think his performances can only get better.”

McAllister, who has played just 10 senior games since the summer of 2016 after a bad injury curtailed his time at League Two Grimsby Town, enjoyed his outing.

“It was my first bit of competitive action this season,” he said. “I’ve had a few reserve games at clubs where they’ve allowed me to come in and train with them but that was back in November so to get some competitive game time was just what I needed.”

Although the game finished in a disappointing 1-1 draw after Chester were unable to break down 10-man Guiseley, McAllister saw enough of his new team-mates to be impressed.

“I felt we were just getting on top when they got their goal but I thought we moved the ball quite well and when we got the equaliser I thought we were going to go on and get two or three so it was disappointing we didn’t really create any clear cut chances,” he said. “But we got into some dangerous areas and were right on top - it’s just disappointing we couldn’t get that winner.”

McAllister, who has also played for Scunthorpe and Port Vale, first mooted a move to the Deva around a month ago but things accelerated once it was clear the injury to Gary Stopforth was more serious than first thought.

“I’ve been keeping as fit as I can and doing a lot of work to make sure I could step in if I could,” he said. “I felt I lasted through the game reasonably well but maybe it would have been harder against 11 men. After 10 minutes I was blowing and I’d say it normally takes me a few games to hit my stride but hopefully that will happen and you’ll start seeing the real me.”

“I know I’m still capable of playing in the Football League but with the injuries I’ve had the last time I played regular football was in League One and when I went to Grimsby I got an ankle injury which lasted 15 months through a misdiagnoses. It was one injury and I wasn’t treated properly and as soon as I got the right treatment I haven’t had the problem since. It was so frustrating as I knew I could have been out for just two weeks and it ended up being 15 months and I didn’t know what the hell was was wrong with me. It was that bad I was thinking about retiring.”

With his injury nightmare hopefully behind him, McAllister admits he is proud of a career which saw him spend three years as a schoolboy at Old Trafford before joining Bolton Wanderers, where he stayed for four years.

“Looking back now I can see how the level of coaching I had gave me the base for my career,” he said. “Danny Simpson and Richie Jones were both in my age group and Nicky Adams at Bury and they made it through, but when I look back on my whole career and see the amount of players I’ve come across who’ve fallen out of the game it shows you how tough it is.

“Now I need to start getting the games in and show what I can do - there’s the potential here to achieve something and that’s what I’m looking at doing. Hopefully come the end of the season I could have another promotion under my belt.”

Looking forward to Saturday’s home match with Curzon Ashton, McAllister is hoping he can establish a strong midfield partnership with Blues skipper Gary Roberts, who is a player he knows well.

“Everyone here has been top class and the way these lads have made me feel is brilliant,” he added. “I’ve felt really at home. I’m living in Shrewsbury with my girlfriend so it’s not too far away and I’m doing a bit of coaching with Shrewsbury in their academy so training here combines well with that and I can start working on a career after football.

“Gary has played at a good level and I remember playing with him when I was at Shrewsbury and he was at Port Vale and I think everybody knows how much ability he has. You see the way he strokes the ball around and hopefully we can keep working on that partnership and take that into Saturday.”