Anthony Johnson warned some Chester players need to ‘buck their ideas up’ despite recording a second pre-season win at Runcorn Linnets.

Goals from Steve Howson, John Pritchard, an own goal and a brace from Chester’s trialist striker secured a 5-3 victory over the Evo-Stik West outfit, but joint-manager Johnson admitted he’d ‘torn strips’ off his players at half-time having grown increasingly frustrated with the amount of chances Runcorn were gifted.

The Blues lacked rhythm and the new-look squad certainly have work to do before their National League North opener against Spennymoor on August 4, with Johnson and Bernard Morley looking to bring in a handful of new signings this week, with a former Football League midfielder expected to be announced in the next 48 hours.

“There were more negatives than positives,” Johnson said. “There were a few positives, a lot more negatives, but it is what it is and now is the time to nail them down.

"I said last week that I wasn't going to be over critical, but we’ve just tore strips of some of them in there.

“We said at half-time that’s potentially your back five going into the new season. No scholars or first year pros, but one of the goals we gave away was awful and we gave them so many chances. We’ve continued to pour goals in the second-half too, so there is a lot of work to do.

"We've won 5-3 with a couple of well-worked goals and some good stuff early on.

“However, some of the sloppyness that lead to chances needs to be ironed out.

“It was almost a free hit for them but I said to them at half time, sorry but I am going to have to judge them a little bit earlier here after that first-half. One or two of them are under no illusions as to where they stand and what they need to do to be in the team in three weeks.

"There will be players coming in. Not players coming in to pad the squad out but players for the starting 11. They need to buck their ideas up and some players now know that. We’ve spoken to them individually and as a group.

“However, we’ve not done any work with them technically and tactically in their three weeks. It’s all been physical work and we’ve said to the lads, go and enjoy it, go and play, get your minutes. There’s no identity of how we’re going to play (yet) so now is the time to nail that down, starting with Llandudno. You will start to see how we look like with or without the ball.”

Johnson was delighted with the efforts of his trialist striker who bagged a brace and rattled the upright with a second-half header. The forward has considerable Football League experience and a deal could be done between now and the start of the campaign.

“For him it is all about his fitness,” Johnson added.

“We’re not judging him on performances as we know what he is capable of.

“He is a big strapping targetman that understands the game and is an intelligent player. We are seeing the graft that he has been putting in. It was a decent performance from him. We asked him to earn a deal and he is doing that the right way. He is doing OK."