Marcus Bignot is confident his Chester side can haul themselves out of the relegation zone with victory at Eastleigh tomorrow.
Fresh from a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead in Bignot’s first game in charge – the Blues first home win in 16 attempts – Chester travel to Ten Acres for a clash with Richard Hill’s Spitfires, who lie 15th in the National League standings, just five points above the Blues.
It’s a busy week ahead for Bignot and new assistant manager Ross Thorpe, with clashes against Woking and Tranmere Rovers to follow, and the 43-year-old admits those nine points would make a huge difference to Chester’s current position of peril.
Asked if underachieving Eastleigh were there for the taking tomorrow, Bignot replied: “Look, that’s up to Richard Hill and his staff, he’s a good friend of mine.
“They’re not my concern. The focus is all about us and the players will tell you that.
“As staff we do our due dillegence on the opposition but come Saturday it’s about how we apply ourselves. I’m always confident we can get three points.
“For us, it’s right here right now, it’s Saturday and it’s an opportunity to get another three points. Last Saturday gave us the opportunity to claw closer to the teams above us.
“We’re now in the situation where it’s not totally in our hands to get out of the bottom four but certainly you talk about those three games in a week, there’s a lot of points to win.
“Hopefully things will be in our hands in terms of looking to move up the table and get closer to the next set of teams who we can catch, move above and move onto the next group of teams.”
Last week’s success over Maidenhead was the Blues best display of the campaign by some margin and Bignot revealed some of the methods he has already put into practice to ensure he gets the best out of what he considers ‘a talented squad’.
“The players were trying to express themselves. No footballer goes out without trying to play to the best of his ability,” he explained when asked about Chester’s performances before he took charge.
“I have a saying: ‘Not only get into good positions to get on the ball, but when we lose it, get in a good position to win it back’.
“Right away from our first session we’ve seen that belief if these players play to their talent.
“We felt with tweaks here and there, some key responsibilities, we could get a response from this group because there’s some good senior players here and we can add detail.
“We’ve always been confident we can get good results out of this group of players.
“You can draw confidence in many ways. If you give players roles and responsibility, give them a structure, they’ve got that desire to work hard. They can draw on that confidence and game plan we’ve given them.
“People have seen how we want to play football.
“We want to get on the ball and be confident with it. I’ll be encouraging the living daylights out of them on the touchline.
“They can’t guarantee me that quality on the ball each week, but what they can guarantee me is the organisation off the ball, their desire off the ball, that has to be there week in week out. That off the ball mindset has to be there, if it is then you’ll spend more time on it.”
Bignot hailed Chester’s supporters for their response at the Deva last weekend, and wholeheartedly agreed when asked if it felt like a millstone had been lifted from around the whole club.
“Not so much for the players, but for the people who work at the football club and for the most important people – the supporters – to go that long without a home win, obviously it draws on the supporters’ patience,” added Bignot, who has a fully fit squad at his disposal tomorrow with the exception of striker Harry White, who will once again miss out with a hamstring strain.
“There were a lot of good performances but the supporters were magnificent. They were man of the match, full credit to them.
“We’ve had all the plaudits (after Maidenhead), pats on the back, handshakes, kisses off the ladies, it’s great.
“But come Saturday it’s Eastleigh, it’s game day, there’s three points up for grabs and we’ve got to do our upmost to get them.”
See full story in the Chester Leader