PAUL RUTHERFORD believes Wrexham’s squad will reap the benefits of their 10-day fixture break ahead of their derby with Chester.
With no FA Cup fixture to contest at the weekend, the Reds have ample time to prepare for their clash with their cross-border rivals on November 8.
The rigours of an intense National League campaign have already taken a physical toll on Dean Keates’ side and midfielder Rutherford has welcomed their hiatus.
Asked how the players would utilise the break, Rutherford said: “One of the main things will be rest and recovery.
“Everyone knows that the start of the National League season is frantic.
“We’ve had a third of the season now after two-and-a-half months, which is a lot on the legs. It might sound like a bit of a cop-out, but it’s not.
“We’ll also be using the rest of the time studying Chester, making sure we can highlight their weaknesses and making sure we can nullify their threats.
“It’s a great opportunity to go into that game fully prepared.
“It was my favourite game of last season. I just thought the atmosphere that our fans created was a different class.
“The first half an hour of that game Chester were on top, but the fans stuck with us and I felt we gave a very good account of ourselves on that day and we were unfortunate to not win.
“The atmosphere and the occasion is unique and there’s certainly not many games like this one at our level.”
Saturday’s 2-2 home draw against out-of-form Leyton Orient saw the Reds lead twice in the contest but denied victory by an 85th minute equaliser.
The result followed an abject showing against Fylde days earlier, after which Keates had demanded a much-improved showing from his under-performing players.
Rutherford added: “I think the performance levels were certainly better than the Tuesday game at Fylde.
“We talked about letting everyone down in that game, but most importantly we let ourselves down.
“If people were watching there on that night I don’t think any one of us gave a true reflection of what we’re about.
“That was the real disappointment, that we fell below those standards.
“We’d be talking differently now if we’d come in with a 2-1 win against Orient.
“People would be saying ‘they have responded well and it was a good performance’ but football is a results business and I’d rather play terribly and win a game.
“So the overriding feeling on that back of that game is disappointment.
“Obviously we’ve looked at the goals and we can highlight who was at fault and how we could have done things better.
“The foundation of our season has been keeping things tight at the back, so you feel like when we do get our noses in front that we are going to push on and win.
“The gaffer, Darlo and Andy are big on statistics and we looked at the stats through the week and I think in 75 per cent of the games we’ve been leading, we’ve gone on to win.
“So if you’re going ahead twice you’re expecting to win, especially at home against a side that is low on confidence at the moment.”
Despite the disappointing outcome, Rutherford was among the Reds’ standout performers on Saturday, providing assists for both of Chris Holroyd’s goals.
Asked for an appraisal of his own performance, Rutherford insists he his happy to give up personal glory for collective success with the Reds.
“It’s not just purely about the individual, it’s about the collective and ultimately we were disappointed not to have won that game,” he added.
“I always say that I need to chip in with more goals, but with seven assists in our 16 goals this season, that’s close to a 50 per cent involvement in our goals, which is pretty high I imagine.”