Chester FC midfielder Craig Mahon is ready to face Steve Burr's boys

Reporter:

Dennis Wall

CRAIG MAHON will put his friendship with former boss Steve Burr to one side when Chester face Southport this weekend.

The popular Blues midfielder admitted facing his former manager for the FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie will be a strange experience.

The famous knockout competition - the world’s oldest domestic cup - holds happy memories for Mahon, who netted for Chester in their shock 2-1 first round win at Southend back in 2014, just hours after the Irish winger became a father.

“I have a lot of respect for Steve because he gave me a great chance at Chester,” Mahon said.

“He gave me two contracts and I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me and my career and everything that I have done at Chester because he was here from the start.

“The contract I signed for him last time kept me at the club for this season, so I have got a lot of respect and I am very grateful to Steve.

“I will shake his hand on Saturday, but on the day we will want to go out and win because I want to see Chester progress to the next round of the FA Cup.

“It’s going to be strange to play against Steve, but I’m looking forward to it and it should be exciting.”

Mahon admitted he has been delighted to be part of Chester’s impressive seven-game unbeaten run as his side prepare for Saturday’s trip to Haig Avenue.

The Blues recorded wins over Dover Athletic, North Ferriby United and Torquay last week and have now gone over 650 minutes without conceding a goal.

He added: “We will be going to Southport on Saturday full of confidence after seven games unbeaten and after seven clean sheets, but that doesn’t mean anything in the FA Cup or for our next match.

“We have got to prepare ourselves properly for the FA Cup and hopefully we can go out and do the business again.

“The lads are really gelling together and it’s fantastic.

“The boys that we’ve got and the coaching that we’re getting from the gaffer and Sharpy is just fantastic.

“Everything is going really nicely and all the hard work we put in during pre-season and at the start of the season is now starting to pay off.

“We have got a great structure in terms of how we play and a great shape and teams are really finding it tough to break us down and long may that continue.”

Mahon, who has scored 12 goals in 136 appearances for Chester, revealed he is really enjoying the current campaign after admitting last season had been a struggle, where he found gametime limited under Burr’s management.

He said: “Last season was tough for me and I really struggled, but the gaffer has come in and made sure that we are all sharp and that has given me confidence and the ability to go out and express myself and do what I do best.

“That makes coming into work and coming into the football club great and it makes me enjoy my job. To say that you enjoy your job every day of the week is a pleasure.

“But that’s down to the gaffer and Sharpy, and it is down to the lads who they have brought in.

“It’s been nice to win three man of the match awards in a row, but that’s all because of the boys.

“We’re not a one man team and if it wasn’t for our squad then I wouldn’t be here, so I’m very grateful to the club, but we have just got to keep pushing on up the table.”

Mahon praised the manner of the Blues’ latest victory at home to Torquay United courtesy of a Ryan Lloyd goal.

He added: “I thought Saturday’s 1-0 home win against Torquay was fantastic.

“It probably wasn’t our best performance but we showed once again that we are hard to beat.

“We are now that team that picks up results, so we have got to make sure that we go into the FA Cup with the same attitude and hopefully we can do the business.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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