JAN VAN DEVENTER says Chester's defeat at Otley was a 'missed opportunity', but is confident his side can end the year on a high tomorrow.

The Division Two North title chasers fell to a 6-0 reverse in icy conditions at West Yorkshire last weekend, with leaders Hull Ionians also slipping to a surprise 17-0 reverse at Leicester Lions.

And with second-placed Chester now just three points off the summit, head coach Van Deventer expects a strong response in tomorrow's home clash with Macclesfield.

He said: "It was a tough one to take up there, especially when we saw the Hull result after the match.

"We could have been heading into the final game of the year as leaders, but we can't dwell on what might have been.

"I'm not overly concerned by the result, because our performance up there was as good as it could have been in such bad conditions.

"We have to look at the bigger picture and see that we're three points off the top at the midway point in the season.

“We’ve shown before that we can recover well from setbacks in this league and I’m sure we can do that again."

Chester's solid home form has formed the foundation of their success, with seven wins from eight so far this term.

By contrast, visitors Macclesfield have struggled for consistency, with Chester enjoying 24-10 victory in September's reverse fixture.

But Van Deventer says Chester will take nothing for granted against the division's 15th placed side and maintains that their Cheshire rivals have improved of late.

"They've beaten Stourbridge and have ran good teams like Huddersfield close already, so there's been improvements there", he added.

"We can't take anyon for granted, because I think we've seen already that this division can throw up plenty of shock results.

"We've lost at clubs like Peterborough, who are down there struggling, so we know that no side can be taken lightly."

Chester head into the clash with a near full-strength squad, with Andy Baston their only injury doubt.

Hull will look to retain top spot with a home victory over Tynedale, while third-placed Hinckley entertain basement side Peterborough Lions.

Fylde can sustain their promotion challenge by beating visitors Preston Grasshoppers, while Otley head to Huddersfield, Stourbridge host Sheffield Tigers, and Sedgley Park entertain Wharfedale.