Kane Richards says that there can be no more excuses for him and his Chester FC teammates after a tough start to the season.
The Blues striker netted his first goal of the season in the 4-0 win over Sutton United on Saturday but, for the second time this season, Chester followed up a morale-boosting win with a disappointing defeat days later.
Chester were comfortably beaten 3-1 at Woking on Bank Holiday Monday as goals from Keiran Murtagh, Joey Jones and Chiegozie Ugwu but Jon McCarthy’s men to the sword at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
With Chester having one of the youngest squads in the National League, inexperience has been one of the factors blamed for the inconsistent start but 22-year-old Richards says that can’t be used as an excuse any longer.
“It could be partly to do with being a young team but we are in a league and we haven’t got time for excuses and time for people to keep saying we’re a young team and we’re inexperienced,” said Richards, who signed a one-year deal in the summer.
“We have got to grow up quicker and start to adapt to different games.
“Woking was a different game than the other day and we have to grow up and take the game to teams and not just leaving ourselves mountains to climb all the time. We’ve got to be better.
“We keep killing ourselves giving ourselves mountains to climb in games.”
Richards had been deployed as a lone striker in recent games owing to the three-game suspension of strike partner James Alabi and an injury to Oluwaseun Akintunde.
Alabi was back for the defeat at Woking but he and Richards were stifled in their efforts to get Chester back into the game as Woking dug deep.
Richards said: “I love playing with James but I don’t mind playing on my own. Playing with James (against Woking) did take some of the burden off me but they played five or six people at the back at times and it made it really difficult.
“As a team we have to cause more problems and make it harder for them to score.”
The task gets no easier for Chester this weekend when they play host to second-in-the-table Forest Green Rovers at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
Rovers are one of the favourites to seal promotion to the Football League come the end of the season but Richards says that fear won’t be a factor this weekend.
Victories over Dagenham & Redbridge and Sutton United have shown the Blues can take on the league’s best but Richards says that consistency is the key.
“We don’t fear playing anyone but it is about getting that consistency,” said the former Ilkeston striker, who joined the club in December 2014.
“We don’t want to be one of those teams that are winning one every three or four games.
“We need to put a run together and get some points on the board if we are going to do something in this league.”