Marcus Bignot wants to end a ‘dreadful year’ for Chester on a high note as his side head into a crucial run of fixtures.

The Blues shoot-out victory over AFC Fylde last weekend – following a 1-0 success over Solihull – meant Bignot’s men recorded back-to-back wins for the first time in a year, when Witton Albion and Aldershot Town were both seen off in the space of four days in December 2016.

A vital trip to struggling Halifax Town is next up on Saturday, prior to two clashes with Guiseley and the visit of Hartlepool United over the festive period.

“Halifax have the extra game in midweek now so it’s an opportunity for us to again build on what has been a good start to December,” Bignot said. “It’s going to be a different type of game to (Fylde), probably more like the Solihull game but they have more of a focal point up top in terms of Denton.

“But we have to find ways of winning football matches and different games pose different situations and Saturday will be different but we’ll have to find a way.

“It’s been a good start to December so far. We can do all the work we can, and you ask the players we do put a lot of work into them, but that three points, there is no better feeling.

“The confidence you get from that is massive. It’s been a dreadful year for our supporters but hopefully we can finish the year with Christmas and New Year to come and carry on with that momentum.

“I love it at this time of year but it’s a big commitment in terms of how you manage the group, there’s a lot of games.

“For footballers there’s a lot of sacrifices made, it’s a time you spend with your family, loved ones, and children but they sacrifice that and put football first.

“This group are willing to do that.”

Bignot, appointed Jon McCarthy’s successor in September, hailed in-form forward Ross Hannah and teenage centre-back James Jones for their recent good form following the FA Trophy win, with a trip to East Thurrock United lying in wait in round two on January 13.

“Ross has hit a rich vein of form now,” he continued. “In terms of scoring goals that’s going to be important for us. I don’t know how many he’s got now in recent games but he's certainly on fire and long may that continue but we’ll have to rest him up and look after him ahead of Saturday.

“James Jones has the ability to play at this level week-in, week-out.

“Like I’ve said, he’s now got an opportunity here and it wasn’t a case of we have to, we wanted to put him in.

“It’s what we need in December and January, those three centre-halves putting their bodies on the line and they’ve been defenders (against Fylde), they had to be defenders. That’s pleasing for James and pleasing for the group.”

Bignot praised the character of his players after Fylde bagged an 89th minute equaliser in their Trophy tie, forcing extra time and ultimately penalties.

“That could have knocked us back mentally from getting a result as you’ve also got to play another half an hour of football,” he added.

“Credit to the players, we’re working very hard to change their mindset and create a winning habit.

“It’s hard because the group aren’t used to winning football matches for such a long time but we’ve earmarked these two months to change that mindset, get into good habits and start winning matches.”