ANTHONY JOHNSON believes the pressure on Chester to achieve promotion this term is partly of his own making.

Currently 10th in the National League North standings, the Blues’ play-off hopes have faltered after collecting just five points from their last eight games.

But Johnson accepts that he and joint-manager Bernard Morley have played their own part in raising expectations this term.

He said: “When we first came to the club, the mood among the fanbase was one of apathy. There was talk about consolidation and of avoiding another relegation battle.

“But it was me and Bernard who talked about promotion from day one. We talked up our play-off chances because we had the belief we could deliver that and we still do.

"So when people talk about additional pressure - there isn’t any. We invited that upon ourselves and we’re still committed to making it happen.

“There will be bumps in the road and some pain along the way, it’s inevitable. Anyone who thinks there won’t be doesn’t understand the game.”

A 4-1 defeat at Kidderminster last weekend was branded ‘an embarrassment’ by the club’s managerial duo, a view shared by the travelling supporters who booed their side at full-time.

Johnson and Morley shouldered some of the blame for the result, and remain confident of an upturn in form ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Boston United.

“What happened at Kidderminster was an embarrassment, but there are mitigating circumstances in terms of injuries too,” Johnson added.

“As well as having eight players injured, we had to select six players just coming back from injuries.

“In hindsight we could’ve thrown few academy players in there to keep the fitness levels up, so in that respect Bernard and I are culprits too.

“But on the day we had 10 players on the pitch who each lost their personal battles and when that happens you’re never going to get a result.

“We have to do better collectively and we will. There’s 13 games left of the season now and we have treat each one as a cup final. If we lose just half of those games then the play-offs are out of reach so it’s vital we turn it around quickly.

“Boston are bang in form and will be full of confidence coming here, so we’ll need to be at our very best.”

Chester are without striker Deane Smalley following his move to Hyde United, while Simon Grand, Gary Stopforth, Ben McKenna and Sean McAllister are all sidelined with injury.

Leaders Chorley go to Alfreton Town tomorrow while second-placed Stockport have home advantage over AFC Telford.

Other fixtures: Altrincham v Bradford PA; Ashton v Hereford; Brackley v Curzon Ashton; Darlington v Southport; FC United v Guiseley; Kidderminster v York; Leamington v Blyth; Nuneaton v Spennymoor.