MARCUS BIGNOT has challenged Chester’s players to rise to the derby atmosphere when they take on rivals Tranmere Rovers tomorrow.
The Blues make the short trip to Prenton Park and will be backed by a substantial away following in a crowd anticipated to be in excess of 7,000 on Non-league Day.
Last season, 1,200 Blues fans were sent home ectastic after fighting back from two down to earn a point thanks to Ryan Astles’ last-gasp equaliser and new manager Bignot feels his side ‘have a responsibility’ to reward the away faithful.
“I’ve given it some thought and normally it’s the players’ responsibility to give the supporters something to shout about, something to get behind the players,” he said.
“Putting in a tackle, winning a header, running a bit harder, we have a responsibility. But when it comes to derbies, because of the environment, it’s the supporters who get the players up for it.
“That’s the difference that a derby creates. We’re going to have a massive away support so it doesn’t need words or motivation from me, we’ll get them around us.What I do want to see is can they cope with that atmosphere? Are we going to have that organisation, concentration, that discipline?
“There’s moments we’ll be on top, moments they will be on top but in those moments we must stay in the game and not lose the match.
“Winning a derby, we all know what winning football matches is like, after (Maidenhead) that whole week we enjoyed coming into work. It changes your week, but a derby win, you take that into work, you’ve got friends on the other side, there’s pride, ribbing, banter.
“It’s more than just a result it’s the whole week after it and we want to send our fans home being victorious.”
Bignot was left underwhelmed by his team’s midweek display as they were beaten 2-0 at home against Woking – his first defeat in charge – but saw enough in yesterday’s training session at the Deva to believe there will be a major reaction on the Wirral this weekend.
“When your child has been naughty, you take their privileges away from them, take their sweets away from them, their iPad, etc,” he explained.
“I was going to take away their privileges in training this morning but what they showed me in training, I’m going into Saturday full of confidence, so I’ve given them back their iPads and sweets!
“What I’ve said to the players is Tuesday’s performance and result is what people would’ve expected from my first game in charge, having only had them for one session going into a home game, with the record the club had.”
Bignot, who is without Harry White and Craig Mahon for tomorrow’s clash, added: “After 10 days in charge we’d have hoped Tuesday would’ve mirrored that performance after being able to implement what we wanted to put in, so we’ve kind of got the results but the wrong way round.
“When you look a little deeper, it suggests the organisation, concentration and discipline wasn’t quite there on Tuesday so we’ve addressed that.”
Asked if Saturday’s postponed fixture at Eastleigh had had an adverse effect on his side in midweek, the 43-year-old replied: “I think you saw evidence of that. There were times when there were misplaced passes and it felt sluggish at times on the ball.
“The mentality is to win football matches. What goes on between the two 18 yard boxes is pretty much irrelevant, it’s about what occurs in the area.
“Sometimes we don’t play well on the ball but it doesn’t mean we can’t win games of football, you can win games without playing well at times. The group have to identify how to win matches differently as Tuesday is a game we really should never have lost.
“We didn’t play well, but the goals conceded, I can look every player in the eye and their concentration and discipline wandered in those moments leading up to the goals.”
See full story in the Chester Leader