Marcus Bignot has issued a rallying cry to Chester’s supporters to ensure Wrexham don’t turn tonight's clash into a ‘home game’.
Dean Keates’ Reds will be backed by a 1,200 strong away following at the Deva this evening (7.45pm) and Blues manager Bignot has stressed the need to drown out the travelling hordes and make sure his side get a raucous backing from a 4,000 plus crowd, with ticket sales extremely healthy for the first cross-border derby in recent times not to be subject to ‘bubble match’ transport restrictions.
“The players have got to embrace it. The atmosphere created will be fantastic,” Bignot said. “We have to run further than them, tackle harder than them, jump higher than them. The type of atmosphere a derby creates, we have to apply ourselves to what the crowd wants and what they expect.
“I can’t wait to experience the cross-border derby and we certainly need to make sure Wrexham don’t come here and turn it into a home game in terms of an atmosphere and our fans do their part off the pitch for us and we’ll do our part for them on it.
“Tackles will be going in, first balls, seconds balls. We’ve got to come out on top, that’s a given. Then there comes a game-plan and within all of that we hope we’ve got intelligent players who can play to a game plan.
“Embrace it, embrace the atmosphere but stick to a game plan and hopefully our organisation, our shape and where we are physically, mentally, technically and tactically at the moment we can come out with a positive result.
“I can’t wait now, can’t wait to see what our supporters are all about because the bottom line is they are starting to see our team out there now and how it’s evolving and developing.”
The 43-year-old enjoyed a fine playing career across the Football League and has experienced tasty derbies with the likes of his beloved Birmingham City, Crewe Alex, Bristol Rovers and Millwall, and insists he knows exactly what tonight will mean to the Blues faithful.
“When I was a young lad at Birmingham, we looked forward to the Aston Villa games and I thrived on them,” he continued. “As a player, in my youth days and then in my career, I always enjoyed them. At Crewe, it was Port Vale who the rivalry was with, Bristol Rovers at Bristol City, then at Millwall they had every kind of derby going on!
“I love them, it’s the one for the fans to get the bragging rights to go into work so I know what it means.
“I’m a supporter at heart as well, I love football but I’m a fan as well as a manager and I know what it’ll mean for weeks and months afterwards to come into the next fixture.”
Asked about the chance to showcase the club live on BT Sport, Bignot replied: “It’s a chance to show the strides we’re making on the pitch but also the reason why I wanted this job and the reason why these players signed for this club.
“This club is special to a lot of people and it’s a great opportunity to go nationally in terms of showcasing this football club.
“We want to help that in terms of putting a product out there that gets results on the pitch, but ultimately this is a fan-owned club so you need to see the fans out in their numbers, why we’re different and why we’re special.”
See full story in the Chester Leader