NEW Chelmsford City front man Chris Bryan believes his ability to step up a level at previous club Heybridge Swifts stands him in good stead for his move into Blue Square Bet South football, and he’s targeted this Saturday’s 3pm home kick-off with Welling United as a game which appeals to his ambitions.
The Clarets entertain their promotion rivals as part of an exceptionally difficult March which saw them travel to Dover Athletic on Tuesday night before meeting fellow top eight sides Sutton United, Dorchester Town and Basingstoke Town.
But Bryan claims it’s these challenges that the squad relishes as they bid to stand out from the rest of the chasing pack behind stuttering leaders Woking.
“Whatever you’re standard you’re playing at, it’s the big games you really look forward to playing in and you aspire to be the best you can,” he said.
“I’m getting fitter myself and, as a team, we showed on Saturday that we know how to win. We had ten men but showed resilience to keep a clean sheet and the strength we have in depth makes us a match for anyone, especially over two legs in any play-off games.”
The striker was in prolific form over the festive period for Ryman League club Swifts, netting all four of their goals as they defeated title contenders Needham Market.
Now the former Tiptree United and Halstead Town goal getter wants to carry that strike rate into his time in the Blue Square Bet South after finally making his debut in the 1-0 win over Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday.
It was the match action he’d been craving for over a month after an unfortunate set of circumstances which had seen him sideline for his first few weeks as a Clarets player.
He signed in time for a potential run-out at home to Weston-super-Mare, which was postponed due to the weather, as was Dorchester away. When City did return to action, Bryan was then struck down by illness.
He said: “It was snowy on the day I signed so I trained at first but wasn’t able to get match minutes under my belt.
“I was ill on Valentine’s Day with a food bug which kept me out of that Saturday’s match, then a reserve game got called off.
“At Bromley I wasn’t selected but deep down I knew I wasn’t fully fit. I wouldn’t have been fit enough for Heybridge, let along two divisions higher!”
Chris was introduced as a second-half substitute wide in midfield on Saturday, adding: “Just after I came on we scored but then Ricky Modeste got sent off so we had to do a bit of defending.
“I’m more of a striker than a midfielder but I can play on the left or right. I like to have a target man near me, someone like Kezie Ibe or Cliff Akurang as I’m best at running in behind the defence with my pace.
“There were 15 games left when I signed and I had a target of scoring a few goals to help City to promotion. All the top teams have got to play each other before the end of the season, so anything could happen.”
Most of Bryan’s career to date has been at Ryman or Ridgeons League level, but he did start off with Chelmsford as a youngster.
He then went to Halstead and Heybridge, where he scored four goals in a match after returning from injury.
That alerted Clarets boss Glenn Pennyfather, who was known to be in the market for a striker.
“I knew as a local lad how big the club were and Chelmsford have always been a team I’ve wanted to play for,” Bryan explained.
“Other clubs came in for me but there were only a certain number I would leave Heybridge for.
“Glenn had already seen me play and I was impressed with how the club was run so my mind was already made up. Playing in front of big crowds is definitely something I’ve been looking forward to at City.”