Marcus Bignot admits a ‘lack of leadership and experience’ could make life difficult for Chester when they tackle bitter rivals Wrexham on Sunday.

The cross-border clash at The Racecourse pits Bignot’s struggling side, who are six points adrift of safety and look set to be relegated into National League North, against Dean Keates’ promotion-chasing Reds, who haven’t won in their past four outings, slipping down to 7th in the process.

With experienced campaigners such as John McCombe, Kingsley James and Tom Shaw having departed recently owing to Chester’s dire financial circumstances, it leaves Bignot with a starting XI with an average age of just 23 but he insists they won’t ‘lack for heart or desire’.

“I’d be disappointed if the heart and the desire isn’t there,” explained Bignot, who saw his side perform admirably but lose 1-0 in the first meeting of the two rivals this season.

“In terms of know-how, leadership, experience, that comes with games, and we don’t have that right now. I won’t put an age on it because it’s games and there’s not a lot of games in that team.

“I’ve not sat down and done that stat yet but in terms of games at this level, we’re short. In this level, this environment, in the situation we find ourselves, it will be difficult let’s be honest.

“We’re in a habit of losing matches at this club and there’s been an acceptance. To change that mindset, with a young group who can be influenced, we’re trying to encourage them to do the right things.”

Bignot, who is set to remain without injured pair Paul Turnbull and Jordan Gough (ankle), has encouraged his academy graduates Tom Crawford, Matty Waters and James Jones to ‘be brave’ if given the nod at The Racecourse.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how a Tom Crawford does in that game, Matty Waters, Shaun Hobson, James Jones,” he said.

“How will these youngsters perform in that environment? They are certainly learning this year, again they’ve been brave against Dover. We want them to get on the ball in their own middle-third, to take responsibility, have it and want it and to get into that final third.

“Going into Sunday, whatever team we put out, I’m really looking forward to seeing how they perform. Remember here when we played them, we played well but we were on the wrong side of the result, but we try to do things the right way.”