MARCUS BIGNOT has called on Chester’s supporters to ‘create the right environment’ ahead of tomorrow’s crucial home clash with Gateshead.
The Blues are back at the Deva for the first time since a Boxing Day defeat against Guiseley, but on-field fortunes have picked up markedly since then, yielding five points from three tricky away trips to haul Bignot’s men to within five points of safety.
Heed boss Steve Watson may be expecting the Blues’ faithful to turn on their team but Bignot is adamant the home supporters will prove the ex-Everton defender wrong.
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday because I know exactly what their manager will be saying in that dressing room,” said Bignot, who confirmed former Barrow manager Mick Moore has joined Chester’s backroom staff on a voluntary basis and will provide a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ on his players.
“The old classic, keep them quiet for 20 minutes and their fans will turn. We as players have to make sure it’s not a quiet 20 minutes and the supporters have to make sure their manager isn’t right, and that’s the key.
“A supporter will support you through thick and thin. A fan is waiting for something to happen. I can’t understand creating an environment where players can’t express themselves on the ball, that’s not healthy.
“If we’re not winning headers, tackles, tracking back, showing effort, I’ll join them, I’ll be the first one. But there’s a fine line with lots of young players who we’re going to need, and we need to encourage them.
“The challenge to our supporters if we go a goal down is: are they going to support us or is the atmosphere going to turn? I know what the answer will be, they’re going to get behind us because they’ll see a performance like at Guiseley, Fylde, Ebbsfleet, who will fight for everything. Judge us off the ball, not on it.
“We’re coming into the business end and we need to get into a position to get out of trouble and certainly right now, that looks to be the case.”
Asked about those Chester fans who may not yet ‘believe’ the great escape is possible, Bignot replied: “Because of recent results, there’s a lot of believers who believe we can achieve our goal. Likewise, you get a few who are non-believers and that’s fine.
“What we’ve got to make sure is come the end of January, they’re all believers.
“January will indicate where we are, we’re fighting against all the odds. We’re limited in terms of what it takes to get out of this, working with the group and the environment we create, not just in the dressing room but home and away, on and off the pitch.
“We’ve always known we’re in a relegation battle but we’ve been geared towards it and catching other teams. We’ve got an opportunity to get out of the bottom four by the end of the month, and those teams coming down into it, I don’t think they’ll be as prepared.
“We won’t put the club at stake just for the sake of staying up, it’s a fine balance but what an achievement it will be for this football club.”
Bignot added there could yet be current Chester players departing before the end of January, which could produce an opening for ‘one or two’ arrivals.
"There may be one or two outgoings,” he added. “The only way we can bring new players in is if there are outgoings and with one or two, that may present itself over the next couple of days and weeks.
“You have to have targets. Although we can’t do any business it doesn’t stop you keeping your eyes out and ears to the ground. We’ll be prepared if we lose one or two.”