John McCombe insists Chester’s players are fully aware of the sort of points tally they need in order to beat the dreaded drop into National League North.

The Blues lie in a perilous position after 22 league games, 21st in the table and three points adrift of safety, and some 32 points shy of the 50-point mark that is generally regarded as the benchmark for survival in the non-league’s top tier.

Saturday’s 4-0 thumping at home to Dagenham and Redbridge did little to dispel the fear Chester are in grave danger, and skipper McCombe believes the next four matches – three of which are at home – against fellow strugglers Solihull Moors, Halifax Town, Guiseley and promotion-chasing Hartlepool, are crucial.

“Definitely, that belief is there,” he said. “I’m absolutely gutted because we’ve played one of the best teams in this league in Dagenham and first-half we shackled them. They have three or four individuals who can win a game on their own.

“We’ve switched off second-half, people stopped doing their jobs and we’ve let them in. But we have shown periods in the past five games that we are a good team and we’ve matched every team we’ve played.

“These games coming up are crucial against teams in and around us, but look, over the course of a season we know full well how many points a team gets relegated with.

“We know how many is needed to normally stay up, so whether we pick them up against Dover, Tranmere, whoever the bigger teams are in the league, or we pick them up against Solihull and Halifax, if we get enough points then we’ll stay up, if we don’t then we’ll be going down.

“There’s a lot of big games coming up but having three at home (in the next four), we want to be picking up quite a few points.

“We’ve had quite a lot of injuries, a few of them are coming back and it will give the lads time to get back and get a full squad out there. Even saying that, we shouldn’t be losing games 4-0.”

The 32-year-old Pontefract-born defender was at a loss to explain just how poorly the Blues had performed in their second-half capitulation against Dagenham and doubts whether some of his team-mates ‘have the desire’ to stop the opposition from scoring at key moments.

“We were the better team first-half, I don’t know what happened to us to be honest,” he continued.

“They had their penalty missed but after they got the first goal it just wasn’t good enough. There’s people just not doing their jobs like we did in the first-half and I’m not sure we’ve got the desire to stop them putting the ball in the back of the net.”