Craig Mahon is relishing a new lease of life under new Chester joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.

The 29-year-old is set to embark on his sixth campaign with the Blues, and along with Gary Roberts will soon be the only surviving member of last season’s relegated squad, with Jordan Archer’s departure to a Football League club set to be confirmed in the coming days.

Dublin-born Mahon - reformed Chester’s record appearance holder – admitted there were some feelings of trepidation after the announcement that Johnson and Morley – well known for their star roles in a fly-on-the-wall documentary following Salford City’s rise the football pyramid – were taking over but has been refreshingly surprised by the reality.

He said: “I’ll be honest, I watched the documentary when they got the job and I thought to myself ‘I’m going to get shouted at here!’ But I think that documentary portrayed a different side to them because I’ve seen a completely different side to them: honest, hard-working, and they just want the best out of the lads.

“You could tell that from day one. They don’t mess about or beat around the bush, they tell you straight to your face what they want and expect, and you can’t ask for any more than that from your manager. Someone who is going to tell you what they want from you.

“I’m really looking forward to the season under the two of them, and we’ve got Derek (Egan, first-team coach) in who is a fantastic coach so it’s a really good set-up.

“I’m glad I’m still here and I’m glad I can help Chester try to get back to where we want to be, I’m glad the gaffers wanted to keep me here.

“They could have said ‘you’re not our cup of tea’, like what has happened with Ross (Hannah) and Kingsley (James), they’ve moved on, but I’ve been very lucky they want me here and I intend to repay them on the pitch.”

Mahon has looked fit and sharp during his two pre-season appearances so far, weaving his midfield magic in Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Ramsbottom United, where he drifted across the pitch behind the forward line and came close to scoring with a dipping shot from 25-yards.

“I’m playing with a smile on my face again and it’s a really nice feeling,” he said.

“Last year I had my ups and downs off and on the field, but this year looks like being a good one.

“Last season was negative all year really and I got myself involved in that and everybody ended up with negative thinking at the end of the season.

“We’ve got a good set of lads in and the gaffers are two honest, hard-working lads and there’s an excitement around the club.

“We really have to put last year behind us, it’s in the past now. If we mope around or think too much, we’d start being negative again.

“We’ve had a successful summer with the input of money into the infrastructure and new managers coming in, it’s helped to draw a line under last season.

“We can start a fresh, start a positive and start the new season. My focus is 100 per cent on being right for Spennymoor on August 4.”

As a proud Dubliner, England’s run to the semi-finals of the World Cup has been a costly one for Mahon, but at least now Gareth Southgate’s men are out of the tournament, it will save the Chester winger a few bob.

“It’s cost me a fortune! I’ve got a Colombia jersey, a Sweden jersey, now I’ve had to buy a Croatia one and I’ve bought a France one now just incase!

“You can’t knock England though. As a proud Irishman I’ve had to bite my tongue at stages. I got in trouble with the missus when Colombia scored late on!

“It’s fantastic for the country and there’s a great buzz. It’s great to see a professional, hard-working England squad who are honest and it’s refreshing to watch.”