CHESTER'S joint boss Bernard Morley is going into 2019 full of optimism despite the Blues suffering a festive blip that saw them pick up just a single point over Christmas from a possible nine.

Defeats at Hereford and Southport were followed by a goalless draw at home to the Sandgrounders meaning Chester have failed to find the net in three games as they slipped to sixth in the National League North table, seven points behind leaders Bradford Park Avenue.

But despite the poor run, Morley is confident that new additions to the squad and those returning from injury will ensure Chester are well-placed to make a promotion push in the second half of the season starting with a good display at struggling FC United on Saturday.

"Bradley Jackson did really well against Southport and helped get us up the pitch and Matty Walters came in and did really well too so there were a lot of positives to take out of the game," said Morley.

"The injury list can only get better. Danny Livesey was 50/50 for the Southport game and that was a decision me and Johnno (joint boss Anthony Johnson) made so as not to risk him. He is an integral part of what we're doing so we are hoping he'll be available Saturday.

"Then you have the likes of Scott Burton and George Green - George is back but he's not at full fitness and Scott was running today so he's going to be in contention over the next ten days.

With the signing of striker Akwasi Asante expected to be confirmed today (Thursday), Morley is also hoping the goal drought will end with the Dutchman looking to continue the form which saw him hit five goals in his first three appearances for the Blues.

"There are massive expectations at this football club and I'm just starting to get that," added Morley. "I enjoyed today and I thought the crowd were as good as they could have been considering it was a 0-0 draw which is our fourth at home this season.

"But we are resilient and we have a great home record and if we can replicate that or go one better than what we've done in the first 24 games that sees us in the play offs and for this group of lads in such a short space of time that would be an unbelievable achievement and we've just got to believe we can do it as a football club.

"Can we do it? Absolutely."

In other news, Chester have confirmed that John Pritchard’s loan move to Buxton has been extended with the winger remaining in Derbyshire for the rest of the season with defender Dominic Smalley also remaining at Hyde United on loan for the rest of the campaign.