CHESTER start life in the Conference North with a trip to Oxford City.
The Blues, who are targeting a third consecutive title-winning campaign after securing the Northern Premier Division crown last term, will face Oxford City on Saturday, August 18.
Chester boss Neil Young, who has signed seven players since pointing the club to success last season, admitted he was excited about the prospect of his team challenging for promotion.
He said: “We’ve got the sort of opening fixture I was hoping for. I wanted a longer trip early on in the season mainly because of the decent weather for travelling purposes.
“Oxford City will do us fine for the opening day and I’m sure like me, our fans are really excited about the season now that the fixtures have been released.
“We’re now working hard to get the squad ready for our busy pre-season fixtures before looking forward to meeting new teams and visiting new places when the league campaign gets under way.”
Chester will entertain Workington at the Exacta Stadium in their first home fixture scheduled to be played on Wednesday, August 22 (7.45pm), before Young prepares to welcome his former club, Colwyn Bay, at the Exacta Stadium on Saturday, August 25 (3pm).
He added: “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Colwyn Bay again when they play us in the third fixture and our first Saturday home match.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Colwyn Bay before I joined Chester and I have been pleased to see them continuing to do well since my time at the club, and I’m now looking forward to seeing them facing us.”
The Blues are being tipped as favourites to win the Conference North league title, with FC Halifax Town being seen as their nearest challengers in the quest for automatic promotion to the Conference Premier.
Chester will entertain FC Halifax Town on Wednesday, September 5, while the reverse fixture is on Saturday, January 26, and the Blues will meet Ellesmere Port-based neighbours Vauxhall Motors on Tuesday, October 30, at Rivacre Park (7.45pm), and at the Exacta Stadium on February 23 (3pm).
Chester have been handed two home matches for the Christmas holiday period with games against Droylsden on Boxing Day and against Hinckley United on Saturday, December 29.
But Chester face away fixtures at the start of the New Year, with a trip to Droylsden on Tuesday, January 1 (3pm), and a match at Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, January 5 (3pm).
Young revealed he had studied his club’s run-in in the hope that the Blues will be challenging for promotion towards the end of the campaign.
He said: “I’ve noticed that we face a trip to Worcester City on the final day of the season (Saturday, April 27) after fixtures in the final month at home to Boston United and at Guiseley.
“There are no easy matches in the Conference North, but we will prepare the best way we can by starting to gather as much information as we can about the first five or six teams we are due to face.”
Young revealed that Chester’s scheduled pre-season friendly match at Ashville was in doubt and that the Blues could now be facing Heswall away on Thursday, July 12.
- Vauxhall Motors kick off their Conference North campaign at Corby Town on Saturday, August 18, before entertaining Bradford Park Avenue (August 21) and Altrincham (August 25) at Rivacre Park.
Vauxhall play host to Colwyn Bay on Boxing Day and entertain Workington on December 29, and Motors then travel to Colwyn Bay on New Year’s Day and to Oxford City on January 5.
The Motormen’s final fixtures of the season read as follows: April 1, home to Droylsden; April 6, away to Gloucester; April 13, home to Histon; April 20, away to Gainsborough and April 27, home to Harrogate Town.
See full story in the Chester Leader