CHESTER joint boss Anthony Johnson has admitted his side are a long way from getting the six wins he believes will see the Blues make the National League North play offs.

Chester remain five points off the play-off places despite an awful run of form that has seen them win just three games out of 11 since the New Year with the latest disappointment a 1-1 home draw with struggling Leamington.

And with only eight games of the season left for the Blues to salvage something from the campaign, time is running out for Johnson and co-manager Bernard Johnson if they want to spark an improbable run into the league's top seven.

"The games to come are never not tough," said Johnson, who takes his side to Darlington next Saturday. "It doesn't matter if we're playing FC United or Ashton or Nuneaton or the other teams at the bottom - we would never say they aren't tough games.

"It's a respect thing but if you don't want to scrap and do what Leamington did to us you're not going to get the maximum points and the basics that we have driven into the lads all season long from minute one have gone missing."

Johnson already has one eye on what will happen next season whatever the outcome of the next month and he urged the players to remember that in the campaign's remaining games.

"This almost feels like a feel out season for the group where we're feeling what they're about," he said. "If we get in the play offs it's absolutely amazing but what we don't want this season to be is a waste. We don't want to waste a year by seeing the next eight games out and finishing 12th, 13th or 14th.

"We need to start putting some foundations down for next year because it doesn't feel like it did a few moths back where things were cohesive and there were patterns. There are patterns now but they're the wrong type.

"Six wins will get us into the play-offs. Next Saturday Alty play Brackley, Telford don't play as they are in the FA Trophy, they don't play again the week after. So mathematically all these teams have got to play each other - we've got to play Brackley. But (six wins) was on the premise that we beat Leamington.

"It doesn't change the fact that I think six wins or 18 more points will get you in there, but you can only base that on the last game that you've watched or the week before, which was Alty. We don't look like we're going to win six games. The group looks mentally weak, fragile and lacks leadership.

"We have one eye on next season and one eye on the play offs - we want to get to the play offs and that's our goal short term goal and hopefully if we do, a large part of the group will play a part next year, but after today's result we're nowhere near."