Marcus Bignot believes the promise of a Wembley final means there is every reason for Chester to take the FA Trophy seriously.
The Blues host AFC Fylde on Saturday (3pm) in the first round, with the tie to be settled on the day with extra time and penalties if required, and Bignot has promised to name a strong side despite the obvious need to prioritise their league form given the Blues lie 21st in the National League.
“Fylde have come up and they have had a good season,” said Bignot, who is without the suspended Lathaniel Rowe-Turner but will give a late check to Andy Halls.
“Nearly getting to the third round of the FA Cup and taking Wigan to two games, they’ve done well and they’re a good club with big ambitions but it’s an opportunity for us.
“I’ve been made aware the club has never been to Wembley in it’s history and it’s always nice for every football club to have ingrained in it’s history a Wembley appearance.
“Whether it’s an in-house game, a league game, a midweek game, it’s an opportunity to keep improving and that’s what we’re doing.
“We’re seeing signs the group are getting mentally stronger. But listen, we’re not naive and from time to time that has a habit of biting your on the backside.
“We’ve got to remain focused. It was great to get three points but it’s important we don’t take our eye off the ball.
“To the fans, come down, we’ve slashed the prices, we’ll guarantee you 120 minutes and penalties so you’ll get your money’s worth! We’ve got to be aware of that but supporters just have to bear in mind of reasoning behind making certain decisions.”
Asked if playing to a finish suited with replays acting as an unwelcome distraction, Bignot replied: “It would have been for us but if it was an away fixture I probably would’ve asked for the replay in terms of revenue.
“Being at home in front of our fans and having the advantage if it does go to extra time, that can be pivotal so it suits us but I’d have a different mindset away.”
Last weekend’s 1-0 win over Solihull Moors has breathed fresh life into the Blues survival fight and Bignot admitted a need to maintain that confidence in the squad ahead of a crunch run of games.
“Obviously winning breeds confidence and it was a much-needed confidence boost for the group,” he continued.
“At times like this on the back of winning games it’s an opportunity for a manager and his staff to really drive and work the boys harder, so we’re going to work them harder!
“The way the fixtures have fallen, we’d always identified December and January as a couple of months where we needed a real (points) return going into what will be the business end of the season. We know what’s required.”
Craig Mahon and Tom Shaw are both set to be involved, while strikers Harry White and Jordan Archer could both come into contention.
“You saw the impact Shaw had and we’ve not had Craig available since the second game in,” he added.
“We’ve missed him and Mahony will be key for us in the direction we want to go.
“Because of the weather last week we couldn’t get one more training session into Harry White but otherwise he’d have made the bench last Saturday. We’ll see on Saturday if he comes back in or not.”
n Chester’s league fixture away at AFC Fylde has been rearranged for Tuesday, January 9 (7.45pm).