With Chester FC ’s squad this season having a youthful look to it, Evan Horwood is aiming to make his experience count.
The 30-year-old left back, a summer signing from Northampton Town, showed his class on Tuesday night to help Chester to a superb 3-0 home success over Dagenham & Redbridge having missed the season opener at Gateshead on Saturday.
Horwood is just one of only two players in the squad in their 30s – the other being Jon Worsnop – and is taking on the role of the elder statesman for the first time in his career.
The former Hartlepool United, Carlisle United and Tranmere Rovers man is now wanting to ensure he can aid the growth and development of the club’s crop of young talent and believes they have the ability to shock more teams in the National League this season.
“We have got a good 11 or 12 young lads there that, if they keep working and keep their heads down, then they can shock a few more teams,” said Horwood, who is set to become a father any day.
“Nobody put a foot wrong [against Dagenham] but it is no good doing it for just one game. Hopefully the lads now have set the standard and they can keep it.
“Maybe my communication rubs off on them. As the game wore on I could see it and saw Ryan [Astles] and Blaine [Hudson] talking a lot more and growing in confidence.
“I’m looking forward to see how they grow and get better, the young lads, because they have got a really good career and if they can continue to learn then we are not a million miles away from getting some good results this season.”
“It is probably the first time in my career where I have been that person and it is a responsibility that I have got to take, looking at the squad and how young they are.
“I’ve always had older lads in the squad with me that had played more games and took that leadership but looking around the dressing room I felt that it was something I needed to do and hopefully it can help the lads get better.”
“It is only early doors and we are not going to start saying that we are going to win the league or anything like that, but the lads have got to step back and realise what a chance they’ve got, and they have got a good chance.”
Horwood was withdrawn with 15 minutes remaining of the win over the Daggers as a precautionary measure after feeling a tight hamstring.
He missed the loss at Gateshead after tweaking it in the friendly defeat to Burton Albion but hopes that he will be fit and ready to take his place in the back four for Saturday’s home encounter with newly-promoted Maidstone United.
Horwood said: “I hope so. It is juts more of a precaution and similar to the last time I came off [against Burton] but I just hope it OK for Saturday.
“It is a tight hamstring but it isn’t serious. The last thing we want is for it to be six weeks or eight weeks and we just have to be careful as I don’t want to be missing.”