CHESTER head coach Jan Van Deventer says supporters are ‘in for a cracker’ when his side host title rivals Hull Ionians today.

With the visitors currently setting the pace in Division Two North and leading third-placed Chester by just two points, their advantage is a slender one.

Fine margins decided the reverse fixture when Hull kicked a last-gasp penalty to snatch a 25-24 verdict in the north east, and Van Deventer expects another breathless affair at Hare Lane.

He said: “It should be a cracker for the players to be involved in and for the fans to watch.

“It was a brilliant contest up there, with them starting the game so strongly and us getting back at them to take the lead.

“But to lose that game to a penalty right at the death hurt and was pretty tough to take - that gives us a bigger incentive to win the home game now.

“Both teams like to play quick, attacking rugby and we know there’s not really too much between the qualities we have and theirs.

“Hull have had a bit of a wobble of late in terms of their post-Christmas results, but they’re at the top of this division for a reason. "They’ve shown how capable they are throughout the season with some big winning margins and other games where they;ve had to dig deeper and grind out a win.”

Last week’s frozen conditions saw the league’s fixtures decimated by postponements.

Chester still slipped a place in the standings, however, with Fylde’s victory over Peterborough Lions pushing the Lancashire side into second.

But Van Deventer expects many more twists and turns this season before the promotion places are decided.

“As far as we’re concerned there’s still an awful long way to go”, he added. “We’re in that chasing pack of about four teams who are all pushing for those top two places.

“There are big games ahead of us but all of our focus is on this weekend and getting the right result at home.”

Influential pair Mike Craven and Alick Croft are both in contention to return to Chester’s squad after their return from knee and wrist injuries respectively.

Today’s other games see Fylde host Hinckley, Stourbridge go to South Leicester, Sedgley Park entertain Tynedale, Sheffield Tigers visit Otley, Macclesfield host Wharfedale, Leicester Lions visit Preston and Huddersfield host Peterborough.

Only one game goes ahead in the North Wales League with Abergele at home to Dolgellau in Division Two.