MARK Wright has given a vote of confidence to skipper Paul Linwood – and says he has no plans to take the captain’s armband off the former Tranmere defender.
Blues boss Wright yesterday admitted he had spoken to Linwood about whether the added burden of captaining the side was having an adverse effect on his own performances.
City have conceded 44 goals in 21 matches this season and defensive linchpin Linwood has struggled for form since being installed as club captain in the summer.
However, Wright has seen enough from Linwood in the last two matches to know the 25-year-old is almost back to his inspirational best.
“Paul’s our captain and will stay that way,” said Wright, who was yesterday still basking in the glory of Tuesday night’s stunning 2-1 win at Darlington. “If he thought it was getting to him and he came to us, then we would do something about it.
“At this moment in time you can only go on the positives from the other night, and he certainly played his best game for us since we’ve been here. That’s a positive, that’s a plus.”
Wright wore the captain’s armband for both England and Liverpool during his own illustrious playing career, so he knows all about the added pressures that leading a team can bring.
“Sometimes when people are given the captain’s armband, it affects their performance,” said the Chester boss. “Obviously, when you’re a centre-half and you’ve conceded goals then you look at it and think ‘something’s going wrong’.
“From the year before when he was playing so well to this year, when he apparently wasn’t doing so well, can be because you’ve got a captain’s armband and you’ve got to address that. I spoke to Paul – he didn’t seem to mind it at all and in the Aldershot game we saw signs he was getting stronger and more belief.”
Chester’s early exit from the FA Cup means they are without a fixture this weekend, giving their batch of injured players vital recovery time.
The Blues are next in action tomorrow week when they make the long trek to AFC Bournemouth, whose chairman is the former Chester director and main sponsor Paul Baker.
Midfielder Damien Mozika is expected to have recovered from a hamstring problem in time to face the Cherries, but Paul Butler (calf) is facing a six-week lay-off. Eddie Johnson (hamstring) is also a doubt for the Bournemouth fixture, which will see Kevin Ellison serve the final game of a three-match ban.
Wright, who took over from Simon Davies on November 14, was planning to arrange an in-house clash between some of his fringe players and the club’s youngsters this weekend.
More Blues news – pages 62-63.