Marcus Bignot is hopeful Chester can keep key loan duo Sam Hornby and Reece Hall-Johnson for the rest of the season, with midfielder Gary Roberts set to sign later this week.

Right-back Hall-Johnson and goalkeeper Hornby both played crucial roles in securing a vital 1-0 win at Ebbsfleet, just days after Bignot had suggested the pair would leave the club when their current deals expire this month.

However, ‘positive talks’ have since taken place between Chester, Port Vale and Grimsby, with the Blues board set to try and retain the duo until the end of the current campaign.

In addition, Bignot is set to seal the signing of ex-Crewe, Connah’s Quay and Bangor midfielder Roberts, who has agreed to join his hometown club having been released by Southport last month.

The 30-year-old, who hails from Blacon and is a former England C international, is unlikely to sign in time to face AFC Fylde tomorrow but could come into contention for the trip to East Thurrock United next weekend.

“Sam has pulled off a save at the death but for me, I'm looking at the bigger picture,” Bignot said.

“I've got Alex Lynch who couldn't train before Halifax, he's now had a weeks training and he's looking great so hopefully now there is a real opportunity to have two good goalkeepers between now and the end of the season.

“Having Sam and Lynchy is a needs-must because we can't go into the second-half of the season with just one goalkeeper. We're going in the right direction and it gives the players and staff huge confidence to have those two.”

On 22-year-old full back Hall-Johnson, man-of-the-match at Stonebridge Road, Bignot revealed: “We would very much like Reece to be a part of that moving forward. His deal expires in January but he is someone who we would like to have in our plans beyond that if we are able to do it.

“He has been a plus for us since coming in and you could see what he brought to the side on Saturday and how big it was for us to have him back in the squad.

“I've had good discussions with the club, I'd love a wishlist but sometimes needs-must and I brought Reece Hall-Johnson in to play games.

“I brought Jordan Gough and Jordan Archer in to play too. You've seen what the two have got to give us, although unfortunately Jordan Archer is out.”

The past two performances have seen notably improved performances from Bignot’s side, with their work rate and endeavour significantly better than in recent away defeats.

“You've hit the nail on the head, they've done their jobs and that's all we ask for,” he added.

“Come in, work hard all week and on a Saturday, as long as you can come off the pitch knowing you've put in a performance. We won't always get the result, we didn't at Guiseley but we've got to put in performances that can gain results. We've dug in again, Ebbsfleet will be a little aggrieved but we stuck to our jobs.”