PAUL Linwood insists Chester City’s “ashamed” players have enough character to bounce back from Tuesday’s Rochdale horror show.
The Blues skipper was part of the team beaten 6-1 at Spotland – a dispiriting game which brought back painful memories of the early-season losses to Dagenham (6-0) and Leeds United (5-2).
Without a win in seven matches, Linwood and his team-mates know Chester are under pressure to get a result at Gillingham tomorrow – but he is fired up for the challenge.
Linwood said: “We’ve teed ourselves up to go and prove ourselves again. We’ve been here before after Dagenham and Leeds. We’ve been on a losing streak before and come back strong. We’ve still got belief in the camp.
“We’ve put Tuesday down to a terrible night at the office.
“Everyone’s ashamed, everyone’s disappointed, everyone feels as though they’ve let each other down as well as the fans.
“We’re going to bounce back and prove to everyone that it was a one-off.”
As captain, Linwood has taken on extra responsibility for lifting Chester’s demoralised squad in the wake of Tuesday’s debacle.
But the former Tranmere defender, who celebrates his 25th birthday today, is not the only strong personality in the City dressing room.
He said: “It’s not just me, there are some big characters in there that help the team out and help me out. We’re all in it together.
“Gillingham have got some good players but as long as we work hard our quality will show through, because I think we’ve got better players than them all round the pitch.”
The Rochdale defeat came only two days after Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to Port Vale – a match in which City were unlucky not to take a share of the spoils.
The Blues were 1-0 down at Spotland when the first-half sending-off of youngster Glenn Rule triggered an avalanche of goals.
Linwood said: “Two games in three days, especially playing over an hour with 10 men, is going to take the strain.
“It’s heartbreaking when you see three and four go in. It’s hard to get yourself going, especially when you are down to 10 men. Every attack Rochdale had seemed to be going in, which was happening early in the season.
“Everyone’s disappointed with the performance and we’ve just got to bounce back.”
Chester will be in the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup on Sunday. It will be screened live on ITV1 from 1pm.
City host Brentford at the Deva Stadium on Tuesday (7.45pm).