MARCUS BIGNOT feels some of his Chester players are still suffering a ‘hangover’ from their terrible run of form prior to his appointment.
The Blues capitulated in a desperately poor second-half hiding against Dagenham last weekend, going down 4-0 and leaving the side three points adrift of safety.
Bignot believes ‘one or two’ of his players remain negatively affected by Chester’s miserable home run in 2017, which has yielded just two victories since the turn of the year.
When asked if it is difficult to shake off the mental fragility that affects some of players when playing at home, Bignot replied: “I think it’s really, really hard.
“To go for that long without a home win, don’t tell that doesn’t have a lasting impression, don’t tell me that doesn’t affect how you play at home.
“There’s one or two who I believe that affected in those last 15 minutes (against Dagenham). There is a hangover and it’s not our squad, it was the squad which is the reason we got this job.
“Imagine having that hangover and imagine the one or two, what do they need on a Saturday?
“They need massive support because in this period we’ve had to lean on the squad, we’ve gone to Leyton Orient and no one has made a first-team appearance on the bench. That shows you the depth we’ve gone into.
“For us, we’ve got to change the dynamics and physchological side of the group, especially as most of our games are at home in December, and we need the right personalities out there, who are able to play at home.”
However, Bignot has vowed to ensure last week’s dismal showing is just a ‘blip’ as the Blues focus their attentions on a crunch clash with fellow strugglers Solihull Moors a week Saturday.
“It’s always to have an opinion of a game straight after with raw emotion and I’m sure we all shared the same opinion but if you go back and watch the game, it’s just a last 15 minutes of madness where they’ve reverted to type and that’s where three goals come from,” explained Bignot, who confirmed goalkeeper Conor Mitchell has returned to parent club Burnley.
“That last 15 minutes I saw characteristics from before my arrival. Players, professional athletes, human beings, will always revert to type from time to time.
“Moving to full-time has had it’s benefits and you’ve seen that from improving performances and getting a steady points return, as we’d be out of the bottom four if the league had started from when we came in.
“Those 15 minutes showed individuals or a group of players can revert to type but I honestly believe that was a blip. We were in the game at 1-0 against a team who are one of the favourites to get promoted, and we were in that game and I felt that final 15 minutes just highlighted some traits that came about as we became mentally and physically tired.
“Goals can’t change our mindset, we’ve come back from going one-down before, it shows we’ve got that mental capability. But Saturday was a reminder and we need to make sure that is just a blip.”
Bignot, who could bolster his attacking options next week with Harry White (hamstring) and Jordan Archer (groin) remaining sidelined, admits the scrap at the bottom of the National League will go right down to the final month, even if results improve significantly over the next month for Chester.
“We always work on blocks of games and a points return which we always keep in-house,” he continued.
“Even if we get the points return we want from December/January, we know what we inherited and as a result it will go right down to the end of the season. We won’t be mathematically safe until the last month of the season.”
The 43-year-old boss is confident he will have some senior players back in the squad to face Solihull, but admits he won’t rush any player back if they are not 100 per cent ready, through fear of losing them for a longer spell later in the campaign.
“This week has been different to normal what with the two-week lay-off,” added Bignot, who could welcome Reece Hall-Johnson back by the end of the month.
“It’s mostly been led by the medical team with the group this week, it’s their opportunity to see where our players are physically.
“We’ll get them back in on the pitch on Saturday and back to a normal week come Monday.
“It’s an important two weeks and it’s important we don’t just get them back for the short term, we need them to come back and stay back.
“That’s key and that’s the message we’re sending out to returning players. We need them until the end of the season and we don’t want a repeat of them going back on the treatement table.”
n Chester’s FA Trophy first round tie against AFC Fylde will be settled on the day.
The clash on Saturday, December 16, will go to extra-time and penalties if needed, after both clubs agreed to avoid an unwanted replay.
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