Mark Maguire remains confident in Chester’s chances of avoiding the drop but accepts they face a ‘long, hard fight’ to avoid relegation.

Marcus Bignot’s side lie 22nd in the National League table having taken just 18 points from their opening 22 games of the campaign, with an unwanted demotion into National League North looming large.

Saturday’s crunch home encounter with Solihull Moors is an opportunity to grab a vital three points and chief executive Maguire is hopeful a victory can provide some much-needed ‘momentum’ for the festive period.

“I think up until the second-half against Dagenham, we'd seen progress and we were really happy with the direction things were going,” he said.

“There's a danger of seeing a second-half performance, everyone panics and thinks 'Oh we're back to square one' but I don't think that's the case.

“We've seen four and a half good performances over the past few weeks and we just need that win and a run of results to build on that positivity of performances.

“It's coming up to a crucial time. You need to build momentum so Solihull would be the perfect time to kick things off in that regard and we're happy with players coming back and performances improving that we're going in the right direction.

“As everyone acknowledges it's going to be a long, hard fight between now and the end of the season and we need everyone on board and pushing in the same direction.”

Clashes between now and the new year against Solihull, Halifax Town, Guiseley twice and Hartlepool United have the shape of fixtures that will define whether or not the Blues can haul themselves out of their current predicament and Maguire has called on the club’s fans to rally behind the team in the coming weeks.

“There's no doubt about it,” he replied, when asked if this was a 'huge month' ahead for the club.

“There are crucial games coming up. Our fans have been brilliant and we need them to be brilliant again for these run of games coming up, get behind us and help us fight.

“Myself, the management, the players all need to do their bit as well because this is going to be a long, hard battle and we've got to do it together – that's the absolute key to it.”

Maguire says he will continue to strive to ‘deliver a balanced budget’ at Chester, despite several recent additions to the first-team squad being made since Bignot’s appointment, after the board has previously stated the playing budget was spent up for the season.

“The reality of where we are is my job is to deliver a balanced budget every year,” he added.

“If players come in then money has to be generated elsewhere to pay for that and sort that out. It's an ongoing process and I think the difficulty is if people start to react to each individual signing or player going out on-loan, whatever the case may be.

“But it's part of a whole process and we have five months left of this current financial year and this season, and my job on behalf of the board is as close as we can to deliver a balanced budget.

“That comes from all sorts of sources, all different ways but we've got to try and support the manager when we have injuries or shortfall in personnel to try to do what you can to help, but Marcus understands that has to be within the financial restrictions of the club that we've got.”