JAN VAN DEVENTER says it’s vital that his title-chasing Chester side rediscover the winning habit quickly this year.

The South African coach has urged his players to put a ‘disappointing’ 25-19 defeat at Leicester Lions behind them and resume their pursuit of the National League Two championship.

Second-placed Chester host Sheffield Tigers on Saturday, with Van Deventer calling for a focused performance.

He said: “The mental side of our game has to be better than it was at Leicester. The tries we conceded were self-inflicted and were definitely avoidable.

“Defensively we weren’t responsive enough when we lost possession and Leicester exploited that to good effect.

“We need to be sharper and more alert and I think the Sheffield game is a good opportunity for us to put things right and to keep the pressure on our rivals at the top of the division.

“Getting that winning mindset early on is important to restore the momentum we had pre-Christmas.”

The Tigers have struggled for form this season and currently occupy 11th place in the table.

The new year began disappointingly for the Yorkshire club as they went down to a 23-22 home reverse to South Leicester.

But with some of his key players set to miss the clash, Van Deventer is wary of the threat posed by tomorrow’s visitors.

“We’re in a similar position to last weekend, with some big players set to miss out again for us against Sheffield”, he added.

“Playing without Guy Ford, Mike Craven and Sean Green seemed to affect us at Leicester so we’ll need to up our game in certain areas to compensate for their absence.

“Sheffield haven’t made the strongest of starts this season, but they’ve enough quality in their set-up to hurt teams.

“They have a very attack-minded back three and can be a very dangerous tea on their day.

“For us it’ll be a case of ensuring that we shut them down when they’re looking to break quickly to stifle those attacking instincts.

“We were guilty of squandering good possession and territory last weekend and I expect us to be better against Sheffield.”

League leaders Hull Ionians entertain fourth-placed Hinckley, while in-form title rivals Fylde host Leicester Lions.

Tynedale go to South Leicester, Sedgley Park host Preston Grasshoppers, Wharfedale head to Otley, while Peterborough Lions and Macclesfield face trips to Stourbridge and Huddersfield respectively.