CHESTER boss Anthony Johnson expects plenty more ‘twists and turns’ before the National League North title race is decided.

Sat third in the table ahead of this weekend’s clash at Gateshead, the promotion-chasing Blues are five points behind leaders York City.

The Minstermen held an eight-point advantage at the summit just a fortnight ago, a lead that has been slashed to a solitary point by title rivals King’s Lynn Town.

Ian Culverhouse’s free-scoring side were 5-2 winners against Leamington in midweek, and Johnson is relishing the battle for top spot.

“I was cheering King’s Lynn Town on,” he said.

“It keeps York looking over their shoulders at the teams coming up behind them.

“What you don’t want is a situation where any team finds themselves eight or nine points clear at the top without getting challenged.

“It’s been a good couple of weeks in terms of league results and it’s good that there’s more pressure on those top teams now. ”

Last weekend's 3-0 home victory over Alfreton Town ended Chester’s five-game winless run in the league.

The hosts laboured in a disjointed game in which Alfreton barely threatened the home goal.

While Johnson accepts that his side were below-par, he maintains that the league’s unpredictability means that any victory should be judged on its own merits.

He said: “People look at the Alfreton result and say ‘okay you’ve got three points but Alfreton were poor'.

“But then in midweek they go and beat Hereford who hadn’t lost at home in the league this season.

“We’ve had a good habit of beating the teams around us this season and even when we aren’t at our best - like against Alfreton - we’re still creating chances.

“We’ve also matched all of these teams at the top when we’ve played them - we’ve come away from tough away games with a point when we could have taken more.

“The onus is on us now to build on the result against Alfreton and string another couple of wins together.”

Chester now come up against a Gateshead side, who ran Oldham Athletic close in the FA Cup last weekend.

The north east club were beaten 2-1 by the League Two Latics in a first round tie settled by Jonny Smith’s 77th minute winner.

Johnson was impressed by the quality on show from Mike Williamson’s Heed side, who have won all of their last three home games.

Johnson said: “Oldham were poor, but take nothing away from Gateshead who were unlucky and should have won the game.

“It’s another tough game for us and one of those away fixtures that no one really looks forward to. But we’re going there with a positive mindset and looking for another win.”

Chester have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Gateshead International Stadium.

Johnson says that top scorer Akwasi Asante has ‘trained well’ this week and could be in contention after missing the last four games with a groin strain.

Saturday's other fixtures see York head to Curzon Ashton, and King’s Lynn visit fifth-placed Southport.

In-form Spennymoor go to Telford, Alfreton host Gloucester City, Hereford travel to Altrincham, Brackley are at to home to Darlington, Farsley Celtic entertain Boston, Kettering face Blyth Spartans while Leamington are at basement side Bradford Park Avenue.