Chester may well have been knocked out of the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup but since that set back, they remain unbeaten in seven games and have shown resilience and quality.
20-year-old centre back, Harrison Burke, has impressed in recent appearances, with solid defensive performances and getting on score sheets.
Three wins in seven days. EBACB! ✊ pic.twitter.com/kB7s3WWNnM
— Chester FC (@ChesterFC) November 5, 2022
Burke puts his recent form down to the team mentality manager, Calum McIntyre, has instilled. He said: “Everyone has bought into what the manager’s tactics are, and we feel like a solid group.
“We now train on a Monday which is normally our day off, but everyone has signed up because we all have the same aim, we all want to get promoted. We had to get out of the mindset we were in near the end of last season. We’ve now got a fresh mentality which is to kick on and believe we can go and win the league.
“We’ve got a strong squad and we’re leaving players out that would get into most other sides in the league. We all believe in the gaffer and his decisions, no one is sulking about it and we stick together as a team, because everyone’s time will come.”
Burke scored the crucial equaliser against Oldham Athletic which secured an FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Deva Stadium. Chester were knocked out after a penalty shootout, but the young defender says he learned from the two games and cherishes the memory.
— Footy Limbs (@FootyLimbs) October 16, 2022
“I say surreal a lot, but it was, especially because I’m from Chester. I wouldn’t even say it was a dream, because I never thought I’d be getting into the first team. As when I first joined the academy I was struggling to get into the squad. So, to actually make it in to the first team and score a goal in a big game like that, in front of nearly 2000 travelling fans, was just surreal.
“The fans could see how much it meant to me and I could see how much it meant to them. Because we’ve been desperate for an FA Cup run as there’s been too many times when we’ve been on the wrong end of an upset.
“Everyone knows the FA Cup has so many magical moments and I think the club was deprived of it. Even though we lost, the home replay was also amazing, there were 4000 at the Deva and that’s not happened in years.”
The team were particularly impressive against Spennymoor Town, and Burke played an important role, treating the travelling fans with a first half brace when the Seals visited the North East.
For the first goal the defender showed his shooting ability with a spectacular strike into the top right corner from a difficult angle from the opposite side of the box. Despite the high praise he is trying to keep his feet on the ground.
20: WHAT A HIT THAT IS!!
— Chester FC (@ChesterFC) November 1, 2022
He said: “I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because I didn’t have my best game on Saturday. But Tuesday was a very good team performance, Iwan Murray getting their player sent off was bigger than anyone scoring. Being 2-0 down with 10 popped their bubble, we were playing with confidence, and you could see Spennymoor didn’t want to carry on the game.”
Burke has proven himself at this level and has shown he can compete with the league’s best. During his loan spell at Clitheroe, who play in the Northern Premier League Divison One, he gained valuable playing time.
He said: “It did me the world of good, it was my first taste of men’s football. I played 18 games, and I absolutely loved it. It gave me confidence in men’s football.
“I know a lot of academy players that were good at the under 23’s level, go to men’s football and there aren’t many teams that will have them. Under 23’s doesn’t prepare you for it, as it is just so much more physical and aggressive.”