MICHAEL TAYLOR believes he can contribute towards another title-winning campaign.
The Chester centre back has agreed to sign for another year at the Blues who are scheduled to kick-off their Conference North season on August 18.
Taylor, who won the Away Supporters’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year Award at the end of season club presentation evening, impressed Blues fans with his solid defensive partnership last term with club captain George Horan.
“I didn’t have to think long before accepting a one year deal with Chester after talking to Neil Young,” Taylor revealed.
“We spoke about the squad that Neil is planning to assemble and the club’s hopes and aspirations for the new season.
“We both agreed that Chester would be facing a tougher season because we are playing in a higher division and I personally am under no illusion about how difficult it will be.
“But Neil is hoping to bring in the right type of players who will enable Chester to challenge for another promotion campaign.
“I was delighted that Neil saw me in his plans and I had no hesitation in accepting another year at Chester.”
Taylor, who captained Fleetwood Town to the Conference North title two seasons ago, is excited about the prospect of playing his part in another memorable season with the Blues.
He added: “I captained Fleetwood to the Conference North title before coming to Chester so I know the challenge that the club faces.
“I feel confident that I can contribute to Chester’s cause in the division we will be playing in after enjoying a really solid defensive partnership last season with George (Horan).
“I’d love to think that I can play my part in another successful season at Chester, but I think that if the club goes up again that the Conference Premier Division may be a step too far for me.
“I was more than happy to stay at Chester because I know that Neil is planning to bring in some quality players.
“There are plenty of positives about Chester and I’m grateful that the club has given me another year because I want to make an impact.”
Taylor, who has just completed a social work degree course at university and enjoyed a recent holiday break with his family, underlined the challenge that he and Chester face next season.
He said: “I, like every Chester fan, believe that the club has to believe it can challenge for a play off spot in the Conference North at the very least, and there is no reason why we can’t.
“It will be tough for me to win a place in the starting line-up and I don’t think we will have it all our own way like we did in the Northern Premier League.
“Every point we manage to win will be important from the first game right through to the end of the season. But if Neil Young does manage to strengthen the squad I feel we will be more competitive and that we just need to focus on what we do.”
Admitting that he had been pleased to see Taylor accept a new one year deal, Young added: “Michael did well for us last season and struck up a great defensive partnership with George Horan.
“Michael was keen to sign and he was keen to stay. I spent 15 minutes speaking to him about next season and he spent one of those minutes signing the deal.”
Taylor is one of three players who have agreed to accept new offers at Chester.
Midfielders Robbie Booth and Iain Howard have both agreed to stay with the Blues, but Christian Smith has rejected new terms and will be leaving the club.
Young said: “Christian was keen to stay at the club but the offer has now been withdrawn because he turned down a deal I made him and I’m not prepared to move on that because I have to stick to my budget.
“I’m still in talks with Michael Wilde and they have been going well.”
One man set to compete for a place in the Chester backline with Taylor and Horan next season is Dominic Collins, who signed a one-year deal with the Blues yesterday afternoon.
Collins made an impression on Chester boss Young after starring against the Blues for former club Northwich Victoria last term.
Speaking about the signing, Young said: “I’m really pleased Dom has joined us, we watched him a few times last season, and the quality was there to see.
“It’s a good move for him, and I’m sure he’ll have a great impact on the squad for next season.”
See full story in the Chester Leader