Marcus Bignot admits Chester’s task is set to become even harder in January with the club set to lose several key loan players.

Speaking after his side conceded an injury-time equaliser away at fellow strugglers Guiseley on New Year’s Day, Bignot was downbeat regarding the chances of keeping Reece Hall-Johnson, Sam Hornby, Nyal Bell and Daniel Udoh, who are all set to return to their parent clubs this month.

Losing regular starters Hall-Johnson and goalkeeper Hornby would represent a crushing blow for the Blues in their bid to retain their National League status, currently eight points adrift of safety in 22nd position, having picked up just four victories from 26 league outings this term.

“Well be losing players in January, in terms of loan players going back,” Bignot revealed.

“We’ll be looking at our youngsters – the likes of Tom Crawford, Matty Waters – that’s where we are.

“You will probably see an unrecognisable Guiseley team in a couple of weeks, you will see Solihull Moors go into the market as well.

“People have a perception of Chester as a club but the reality will be in January, you’ll see.

“But there is enough in that dressing room but each week it gets harder and harder when you come out of games where we should get three points and only get one.

“It is what it is. That is the situation we are facing and that is what it is until I am told differently. It is important we got our youngsters out on loan, with them coming back in to help us in what is going to be a very difficult season for us.

“The last two (defeats) have been damaging because of the environment it’s created in terms of players to be able to perform, but these are the players we’ve got, we’re going to be losing players, not bringing any in and we’ll have to play youngsters.

“The sooner everybody realises the situation and understands what we face and we all pull together we’ll have more performances like Guiseley but hopefully more rub of the green.

“We’re trying to find ways of lifting these boys up. There’s a reason I’m standing here because they needed picking up but we know we’ve got the most difficult job down there.”

Bignot rang the changes at Nethermoor Park, bringing John McCombe, Paul Turnbull, Andy Halls and James Akintunde back into the line-up, and was rewarded with a much-improved display and one which should have yielded a vital three points.

“I thought we came out on top in a game of that nature, we on a lot of our individual battles, we won our units, the midfield got on top of theirs and our back line were in control of their front players,” he continued.

“Our front line looked a huge threat all afternoon and it’s a hugely disappointed dressing room because being in that position with a minute to go, with a minute to go, it should be game over.

“Ryan (Astles) had suffered a bit these past two games so we brought that bit of experience in alongside him. I thought it was a performance that put us in a position to take all three points but it’s not getting any easier.

“We can control it being 1-0 up in the last minute and we could be playing in their half. That’s the most disappointing thing to take away because we deserved three points against a difficult team to play in and around us.”

Bignot, who confirmed Myles Anderson could return for Saturday’s trip to Ebbsfleet after missing the past three games with concussion, was also without Jordan Archer at Guiseley after the striker ‘didn’t feel right’ after making his comeback off the bench against the same opponents on Boxing Day.

“There are positives to take ahead of an important away game on Saturday,” Bignot added.

“Let’s focus on that and all pull together to help the cause. We’ve got a cause and we want to stay up and we’re only going to do that by being together on and off the pitch.”