Bernard Morley says it was 'inevitable' that expectations about Chester's prospects next term would rise after he and Anthony Johnson took charge.

The Blues were in crisis for much of last season and their eventual relegation from the National League surprised few.

Beset with crippling financial problems, then-manager Marcus Bignot was forced to operate with a threadbare squad and meagre resources as results steadily declined.

A timely £1 million investment in the fan-owned club by entrepreneur Stuart Murphy has since restored stability, but it was the arrival of Morley and Johnson as joint managers in May that restored real optimism among Blues fans.

The high-profile pair featured prominently on the BBC's Class of 92: Out of Their League series while in charge of Salford City, whom they led to the National League North title last season.

Morley said: "After we left Salford I think there was always gong to be big expectations at our next club, wherever it was that we ended up.

"When you've had success at another football club, there's a tendency to expect managers to replicate that in their next role.

"As far as we were concerned, when we found out about Chester's interest we saw the club as sleeping giants, really.

"There's a big history here, a good set-up and ever since we've come through the doors here everyone involved with the club has been great.

"The gates in our pre-season games have been really good with the fans turning up in good numbers and there has been a really positive vibe around the place."

Since arriving at The Deva, the duo have overhauled the Blues squad and recruited heavily from their former clubs.

Of the seven summer arrivals, five have played under the duo previously with former Ramsbottom keeper Grant Shenton joining Salford quartet Scott Burton, Steve Howson, Anthony Dudley and Danny Livesey at the club.

Building a squad that blends youthful attacking talent with extensive experience of the division has signalled the Blues managers' ambitions for the season ahead.

Bookmakers have reacted accordingly, installing Chester as second favourites for the National League North title next term.

Now Morley insists that he and Johnson want to give Blues fans a 'team to be proud of' once more.

He said: "Pre-season's done now and I think we can be reasonably happy with how things have gone.

"We haven't always played the best football at times this summer but that will come in time.

"What's important is that we've set some high standards in terms of what we expect from the players. Hopefully the fans are seeing their team working hard and playing with a high intensity in every game.

"The fans have been brilliant and we want them to be proud of their club with players willing to run through brick walls and give everything for the cause.

"We start against Spennymoor on Saturday and it's been 'heads on' time this week, where we try to take all of the things we've done well in pre-season and implement them in the games that matter.

"It's important we make a strong start and hit the ground running to make the most of all the positive work we've done in preparation."