JOHN McCOMBE wants to ‘hit the ground running’ at Chester after being unveiled as the club’s fifth summer signing.

The commanding centre-back has penned an initial one-year deal with the Blues, with the option to extend his stay until 2019, and is set to form a centre-half partnership with Ryan Astles, filling the void left by 20-year-old Sam Hughes, who is set to depart the club this week.

The 32-year-old has a wealth of experience, having played over 200 times for Port Vale during a five-year stint in Staffordshire, and made 39 appearances for the Silkmen last term, netting twice and playing in the FA Trophy final defeat against another of his former clubs, York City.

Hailing from Pontefract, McCombe has developed a reputation as a dominant, no-nonsense centre-back and revealed the switch to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium had come about very quickly following an initial conversation with boss Jon McCarthy.

“As soon as I spoke to the manager, I knew I wanted to sign for Chester,” said McCombe, who follows Andy Halls, Ross Hannah, Harry White and Nyal Bell in joining the Blues.

“Jon contacted me over the weekend and I had a good chat with him. He told me what the plans are for the club and what he wants from next season, it’s a really exciting time for the club and I wanted to be part of that.

“I was looking for a change and as soon as I knew of the interest then I had no hesitation in coming. I want to hit the ground running and do my best for Chester.

“The manager had clearly done his research on myself and my career so far, that sealed the deal really to know he’d obviously put a lot of thought into things.

“I’ve spoke to lads who’ve played under Jon and they say his work ethic is second to none.

“He’s got a philosophy about how he wants the side to play football and he’s explained what he wants from me and my role in the team and it’s similar to what I was looking for.”

McCombe, who stands at six foot two and counts Huddersfield, Torquay, Hereford and York as previous clubs, hopes Blues’ fans will appreciate his style of play and expects to win his fair share of headed duels over the course of the 2017/18 season.

“I suppose the Chester fans will get what they see with me,” he explained.

“I’m a centre-back by trade, I try to win all the aerial battles that come my way. I’ve got to win my place in the team first though. There’s already a very good centre-half here in the form of Ryan Astles and it’s my role to try and push for a place in the team.

“I’ve played a lot of games now in the Football League and the National League. I’ll aim to pass on that experience and help out the younger players whenever I can.”

McCombe is the second Macclesfield defender to make the switch from Moss Rose to the Deva Stadium in the past week, after 25-year-old full-back Halls signed seven days ago.

And McCombe expects the senior players in the Blues’ squad to have a greater influence over the coming campaign.

“Obviously Hallsy signed last week, I played with him all of last season and he’s a very good defender, I know the fans will warm to him,” he added.

“Something the gaffer stressed to me, and I think the likes of Hallsy and Ross Hannah too, is that he wanted lads with experience to come in and help the team.

“There’s a lot of younger players and sometimes last season maybe they haven’t seen out games when they should’ve done, we can hopefully pass on our experience as senior players and help the young players.

“Everyone wants to be part of something really good next season and the hard work starts in pre-season.”