Chester defender Andy Halls says there’s no shying away from how important their clash with Solihull Moors is this weekend.
The Blues have suffered a miserable first-half of the campaign and currently lie 22nd in the National League, three points adrift of safety, but now face a run of five winnable-looking fixtures – three of which are at the Deva – starting with the visit of basement dwellers Solihull on Saturday.
Moors form has picked up however, 1-0 winners over Leyton Orient last weekend, since the arrival of Mark Yates as manager three weeks ago, assisted by former England and Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Tim Flowers.
“I don’t think anyone can hide away from just how important a fixture this is,” explained Halls, a summer signing from Macclesfield Town.
“Three points could make a huge difference to our season. We’re looking for all three points and we’ve got to leave everything on the pitch to try and get that win.
“This isn’t the time to shy away from your jobs. It might have to be backs to the wall at times, but we’ve got to stay strong and we can’t fold our cards under the table like we did against Dagenham.
“December is a busy month, and the fixtures have given us a run of fortunate games. We’ve got to approach these next five games with the attitude that we can get maximum points.
“If we don’t think we can win all five, then it isn’t worth trying. We’ve got that belief and there’s nothing wrong with setting our sights high.
“In some of these games it’ll be bodies on the line but if we’re prepared and can get that first win against Solihull, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
The Blues – struck down in recent weeks by a growing injury list – have taken advantage of a two-week break from action in order to get more bodies back out on the pitch, with boss Marcus Bignot potentially welcoming Craig Mahon (foot) and Tom Shaw (knee) back in his squad this weekend, as well as a fully-healed Ryan Astles (ankle).
“We had a few days away from the training pitch, we did some gym and recovery work,” the 25-year-old continued.
“I think it’s done us a lot of good as we’ve had plenty of lads out there on the training ground so far this week.
“I know the manager is keen to get as many bodies fit as possible given how busy this period coming up is going to be.
“A lot of matches in this league are won by the physical side of things. We have to be up for the fight and that means doing the dirty side of things in matches, not folding.
“We’ve played well in recent games. Against Wrexham we were unlucky not to get a point against a team flying high at the top, we matched them.
“First-half against Dagenham we played well too, but maybe we have lacked that bit of nous needed to get over the line and pick up points. We’re not clinical enough in both boxes and we know we need to improve massively on that front.”
See full story in the Chester Leader