JOHNNY HUNT has opened talks about extending his contract at Chester.

The 26-year-old believes he is playing some of the best football of his career at the Deva, and revealed he has already held discussions with Blues’ boss Jon McCarthy and chief executive Mark Maguire about signing up for another season.

The full-back explained he has been ‘frustrated’ by Chester’s poor form since the turn of the year, as hopes of a play-off spot have evaporated, but he remains adamant the team can be genuine contenders next season.

“I’ve spoken to them, it’s only early days but I’ve said I’m enjoying it here more than I ever have,” the ex-Wrexham defender said.

“If the right deal is on the table then I will have no hesitation in signing for another season. I’m enjoying my football here and I enjoy working under the gaffer, I’m still learning and I like the responsibility of helping the younger lads along and helping the squad.

“It’s a little frustrating that we’ve not been able to get to that next level, but I want to get there and I want to do it with Chester. I want to get there with this group of lads, the club is ready to go, it’s a very good club and we’ve shown we can mix it with the big boys.

“A bit more experience from this year and I think we’ll be right there in amongst it.

Liverpool-born Hunt was clearly smarting following the 3-2 defeat against rivals Tranmere Rovers last Friday, having seen his former Wrexham team-mate Jay Harris equalise off the bench, before fellow replacements James Norwood and Andy Cook swung a dramatic match in Rovers’ favour, after James Alabi and Ryan Astles had netted for Chester.

“I was devastated to tell you the truth, that’s a really hard one to take,” he continued.

“We’ve more than competed in the game, but they’ve had some really good players come off the bench, they’ve brought those good players on and won the game fair and square.

“That’s the next level and that’s what I’m saying at the end to the lads, we’re close to being at that next level. We need to be braver when we’re winning.

“Be brave, keep the ball better, and we will take more points. They are near the top of the league and they fight for their lives, we need to get to that and when you are winning you know how to win games, you learn how to do it. That’s what we’ve got to learn to do more.

“We will learn massively from this year and hopefully if we can keep everyone together we will learn from it.

“They’ve brought Jay Harris, James Norwood and Andy Cook on, three brilliant players in this league. That’s the difference, they've got the squad to do that and it’s the size of their club.

“But no matter who they bring on, we’ve got to learn how to manage a game when we’re in the lead and it’s a bit frustrating and hard to take.

“It was inevitable Jay was going to come on and score wasn’t it! I thought he did well when he came on to be fair to him, but that’s the type of player they’ve got, all three have scored off the bench and that’s so annoying when they can do that. They’ve got a few players out injured too so it just shows the strength of their squad.

“But we more than coped with that for long periods, we’ll work hard, press teams but we need to learn to kill teams off.”

Fellow defender Sam Hughes captained the side in the Tranmere defeat, becoming the club’s youngest ever captain, and Hunt hailed his superb recent performances.

“Sam’s been fantastic, he’s been outstanding,” Hunt added.

“It didn’t make any difference to him. He took it on and was brilliant once again. He’s a big strong aggressive lad and he’s going to go places in my opinion and hopefully he can go on and achieve great things in his career.”