TOM SHAW believes Leyton Orient’s struggles are evidence of just how hard the National League can be.
Chester make the trip to Brisbane Road on Tuesday night (7.45pm) for a crunch clash at the bottom of the table, facing an Orient side just three points and two places better off than Marcus Bignot’s 21st-placed outfit.
The O’s sacked Steve Davis last week and continue to search for a new boss, but Blues midfielder Shaw, currently sidelined with a knee injury but hoping to make a return to full training this week, feels the Blues have a real chance of gaining all three points in London tomorrow.
“It’s a strange one this year, there’s some big clubs down at the bottom,” the 30-year-old said. “It shows what a really tough division it is and how hard it is to get out of it, and how tough it can prove to be when you’re fighting down at the bottom.
“Leyton Orient are a massive club to be in this division, you get some good trips away in this league and that’s one of them for sure.
“But they have found it tough. It is a difficult league and there’s no one pulling clear this season.
“The manager will have the lads fully prepared. It’s a second tough away game after Bromley but we go there in good heart after some of our recent performances.”
Bignot’s side head into the encounter in good heart after battling to secure a 1-1 draw at Bromley on Saturday, with Ross Hannah notching the visitors goal.
Shaw stressed how that positive result ‘sums up’ the attitude to ‘graft and fight’ in Chester’s squad right now, despite a host of key players being out through injury.
“The way the lads dug in second-half just sums up the mood in the camp right now,” he said. “Everyone is willing to graft and fight for each other and wants to graft for the manager and for the club.
“We’re in the situation we're in for a reason but we’re determined to get ourselves out of it and you have to dig in when things aren’t going your way.
“Performances have certainly improved in recent weeks, I think people can see that, and hopefully when we get everyone back fit and flying then results will improve too.”
Shaw is currently joined on the treatment table by Ryan Astles, Reece-Hall-Johnson, Craig Mahon and Jordan Archer, with Harry White also forced off in the draw at Hayes Lane, and Paul Turnbull misses out due to serving a one-match ban for picking up five bookings.
“It’s getting a bit ridiculous really,” Shaw added. “I’ve never known anything like it. At the start of the season we had the situation with the strikers, all four were injured at one point, only one fit for a few weeks.
“We’ve now had a bad run of injuries all over the pitch. The lads are in the right hands with the medical team though, they work wonders getting us fit to play and I’m sure we’ll have plenty fit before too long.
“For me, it’s the longest run I’ve ever been out, three and a half weeks, so I’m getting pretty frustrated.
“There’s not a lot you can do about it when you're injured, it comes with the territory.
“The manager has been great with me since he came in, putting me straight back in the team and having that faith in me.
“I felt I was just getting up to the fitness levels I wanted to be at and was starting to play better, then the injury comes along.
“But you have to accept it and I just hope I can get fit this week and get back out there.”
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