James Chambers driven by 'special' Euro nights as Pats begin Europa journey in Latvia
Published 02/07/2015 | 02:30
James Chambers is playing with a smile on his face, and when that happens, St Patrick's Athletic supporters see the best of him.
That's according to the player himself, who has his sights firmly set on this evening's Europa League qualifier against Skonto Riga (5.0 Irish time).
After an indifferent start to the season, the Saints have won four league games on the bounce, and Chambers has been at the centre of everything that has been positive about his side's performances.
The 28-year-old is the first to admit that last season didn't go according to plan from a personal point of view, with injuries and poor form meaning that he didn't play as much as he would have liked.
But with Keith Fahey moving to Shamrock Rovers, Chambers has found a more permanent home in the middle of the park, and Pat's are reaping the rewards.
"I'm really enjoying my football at the minute," Chambers enthused.
"I started the season well enough, I was happy but I wasn't adding an awful lot of goals to it and I started to struggle a little bit.
"I'm starting to get back now to the level of performances that I know I can get to. I'm just trying to improve every week and keep playing, that's the main thing.
"It's massive to play with a smile on your face and to enjoy your football. Personally, that's when I play my best football."
Chambers' industrious display in the win against Longford last Friday typified the kind of year he is having.
Last season, much of Pat's play went through Fahey, with the former Ireland international dictating the tempo.
Chambers is a very different types of player, but he has added a new dynamic to their midfield.
His goal last week was his fourth of the season and he is eager to add more in a bid to not be known as a 'holding' player.
"I didn't get into the side at the start of last season and when I did, I was doing well and then I got injured around this time last year," he recalled.
"It wasn't ideal. It was stop-start for me but now I'm enjoying getting further forward into the box.
"I think people have this perception of me being a defensive midfielder, but I can get into the box and I can create things."
A tricky-looking tie in the Latvian capital is the next task at hand but it is one that Chambers is relishing.
The former Ireland U-21 international is in his second spell with Pat's and he knows just how important European games are to the club.
Domestically, they still trail league leaders Dundalk by 10 points but Liam Buckley's side are hitting form at just the right time.
"When you get on a winning run, it has a snowball effect and it becomes a habit," Chambers explained.
"Before the break we were on a good run and the main thing was to keep that going. We knew we had Skonto coming up but it was important we looked after Longford first and we duly did that.
"It's a big week for the club. European nights are very special for this club, especially at Richmond. We'll look to keep it tight and bring them back to our place," he said.
"We're full of confidence at the minute so there's no reason why we can't go over there and put in a good performance.
"If we keep playing the way we have been, I don't see any reason why we can't go there and get a positive result."