Chester FC defender John McCombe believes Ryan Astles possesses all the attributes necessary to play higher up the football pyramid.
McCombe and Astles look set to be the first-choice pairing at the heart of defence for Chester this season and have lined up alongside each other throughout the Blues’ busy pre-season schedule.
They coped well once again on Saturday against a strong and pacy Walsall side before the League One outfit eventually prevailed 2-1.
And 32-year-old McCombe, who penned a one-year deal with the Blues in the summer after spurning the chance of an extended stay with Macclesfield Town , has been impressed with Astles, 23, and is confident that there is more to come.
“He has got some good attributes,” said McCombe, who counts Huddersfield Town, Port Vale, York City and Mansfield Town among his former clubs.
“You forget how young he is at times, he’s so big and he’s got an old head on his shoulders. But he wants to learn and improve and playing next to him I feel like I can help his game with talking and helping out positionally.
“As a defender he is strong and attacks the ball well and can play it forward with both feet. He has got a good future ahead of him and if I can play a part in a strong defence with him this season then that would be great.
“You would have seen it last year, the lads said he did well and if he carries on working on improving some of the weaker parts of his game then there is no reason why he can’t have a career in the Football League.”
While Walsall saw plenty of the ball during Saturday’s friendly clash they rarely carved the Blues open.
The back four of McCombe, Astles, Andy Halls and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner looked settled and that bodes well for when the National League season gets underway for Chester on August 5 at Solihull Moors.
Said McCombe: “Walsall are a good team. I played them last year when I was with Macclesfield and I’ve seen them quite a bit in League One and they do well every year and I think they’ll be strong this year so we did well to compete with them.
“Over 90 minutes it was a good performance with plenty of positives that we can take into next week (at home to Port Vale on Saturday, 3pm).
“I think we’ve got a decent team and a great manager and staff. It’s an exciting time of the year for us so hopefully we can go on and do well this year.
“The lads at the back have been solid. I’ve played next to Andy Halls 40 or 50 times (for Macclesfield) and Ryan (Astles) and Rowey (Rowe-Turner) have come in and done well as well.
“We are two big lads. Like any players in the team we have strengths and weaknesses and it’s about making them play to our strengths. I think over the games we have playes so far we have done well and not give the opposition too many chances.”