Alex Brown maintains rock-bottom Hyde have plenty to play for when he returns to face his former club on Saturday.
Brown spent the 2011/12 season with the Blues, making 39 appearances as the club won the Evo-Stik Premier Division title.
He was a firm favourite with supporters and team-mates, being voted joint winner of the players’ player award with Michael Taylor.
But the cultured midfielder left the Blues at the end of the campaign to step up to the Conference Premier with the Tigers.
Brown helped them survive in non-league’s top-flight last season but it has been a different story this time around.
Hyde have only 10 points and are in taking the record for the lowest points total off Leigh RMI, relegated with 18 points in 2004/5.
Brown said: “I don’t think any of us want to go into the history books with one of the worst records the league has seen.
“The lads have got a lot to play for because there are contracts up and it’s not going to be easy to get a new contract elsewhere.
“The lads have got to prove that they are capable of playing at this level.”
Brown, 29, has experience in the Conference North and the Conference Premier, and is not surprised the step up has proved tough for the Blues.
He said: “It’s a very good league and I think you have to take that into account.
“Everyone is a little bit quicker and a little bit sharper and that’s one of the biggest differences you notice.
“It’s essentially a full-time league now and that makes it difficult too because those teams have got all week to work on things.”
Despite the Tigers’ struggles, manager Scott McNiven, who spent the 2005/6 season with Chester City, has kept faith with his approach to the game.
Brown said: “The manager has always been an advocate of trying to get the ball down and play football.
“But that’s not always easy in this league because some of the pitches and some of the teams you are up against can make it tough to play football.
“I think we have lacked a bit of a physical presence throughout the team and we’ve had some injuries too and that hasn’t helped.”
Brown, whose contract at Ewen Fields expires at the end of the season, said he was looking forward to returning to the Swansway Chester Stadium.
“I think I will always look back at Chester as one of my favourite clubs,” he said.
“I still keep in touch with a few of the lads I was at Chester with and I follow how they are doing.
“I have got a huge fondness for them and it was a very difficult decision to leave and I didn’t particularly want to.
“But with injuries I have had in my career it was an opportunity I needed to take because I didn’t want to miss out on playing in the Conference Premier.
“It’s a great club and whenever anybody asks me what it was like I always say the same.”