Chris Chantler on being back in action
Defender Chris Chantler put ten months of frustration behind him on Saturday when he took his place in the starting line up for the long away trip at the Priestfield Stadium.
We spoke to him about it ahead of the morning training session on Sunday.
“From a selfish point of view it is brilliant to be playing again,” he said. “Obviously I’d have liked it to have gone better result wise but it is great to be back and involved.
“I have played a few games recently but the tempo is totally different with a first team game. There are no real nerves with a reserve match and I had a few tough challenges to get through yesterday. I came through those with no problems so I think I’m only going to get better all-round from here.”
There was one particular first half challenge which left the all-action left back on the floor for a short period time but he insisted that it looked worse than it actually was.
“I saw him coming, to be honest,” he explained. “I could see that he was coming in high and that meant I could jump out of the way. He did catch me but it wasn’t really anywhere near the ankle. I had to stay still because it was more of a dead leg than anything else. You’re going to get challenges like that in any game and you just have to deal with it.”
“I didn’t even think about what tackles might come my way before going into the game,” he said. “I don’t think that’s something you can do. If I went into the game wondering how my ankle would be, or feeling scared about being tackled, then I think that would just cause me more problems. Once I got out there it definitely didn’t enter my mind. I had a job to do.”
On his performance, he said: “If I’m being completely honest I think I started really slowly. It took me a while to adjust to the pace of it and the first half didn’t really go the way I wanted it to. I felt that I got better as the game went on, but that will all come with time. I have to remind myself that I haven’t played for ten months and I need to get used to it all again and get that sharpness back.”
“I’m pleased that I’m back out there but I wouldn’t say that it’s put what has been a horrible year behind me just yet,” he added. “It’s only one game and that’s not enough for anyone. However, it’s a starting point from what I have been through, which has mostly been a series of low points, and it has been a long, long time since I’ve been able to just get on with playing the game.”
Talking to us the morning after his first run out since the 1-0 home win over Coventry in January, he said: “I’m actually quite pleased with how I feel. I’m not too bad other than I do have a bit of a dead leg from that challenge I mentioned. That’s absolutely nothing to worry about and, other than that, there’s a bit of stiffness in the ankle which I think we would probably expect. I’m still going to train this morning [Sunday] because my muscles feel fine.”
“It’s disappointing to come away from Gillingham with nothing but I don’t think we played the way we should have,” he commented on the Saturday defeat. “We didn’t play to our best but we had enough of the ball to have got some kind of result.
“I thought we should have had a penalty just before half time and I have no idea how that wasn’t given. I had a handball given against me just before their goal when my hands were down by my sides. His were above his head and he stopped the ball from going in, but we don’t want to make excuses. The fact is that we weren’t at our best.”
“It’s a game where I don’t think we were ever in any real trouble,” he continued. “Their penalty was probably the right decision and that has made the difference in the end. You come away feeling that if we had managed to get a breakthrough when we were on top then we’d have gone on to win it comfortably. We seemed to get into their box but the ball wouldn’t drop for us or run our way, and that makes it tough to take. We know we should be going there and getting a result.”
On the visit of Wolves on Tuesday night, he said: “Everyone knows that will be a hard game. It’ll be a great test for us and it’ll be interesting to see how we do against them. Obviously there is disappointment around today, because of the result we had at Gillingham yesterday, but overall the confidence is still high in the group. We want to get ourselves off on a run again and the home game on Tuesday night is a chance for us to do that.”
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