Tom Shaw believes that Chester FC should not have an inferiority complex when going toe to toe with the biggest sides in the National League.
The Blues put in a gutsy performance at league leaders Lincoln City on Tuesday night, having the home side rattled before eventually succumbing to a 1-0 defeat.
The performance at Sincil Bank was light years better than the dismal 2-0 loss at home to York City on Saturday and the Blues can take heart from their display against the champions elect ahead of another tough test at Forest Green Rovers tomorrow (3pm).
Forest Green look destined to be battling it out in the play-offs after falling away from the title race and they have a record of dominance over the Blues in recent seasons.
But despite their hefty budget and well-paid players, Blues vice captain Shaw says there is nothing to fear and that the playing field is more level than it may appear.
Said the former Alfreton Town and Cambridge United midfielder: “They (Forest Green) will respect us. I have been in this league a long time and these are non-league footballers.
“It doesn’t matter what money they are earning or where they have been before, they are in the same division as us and we don’t fear anyone and we will give a good account of ourselves and have a real good bash at them.
“It will be a different challenge as they try to play total football so we will get in and plan on how we can affect them. They have some very good players but they definitely have some weaknesses and we’ll look to exploit them. We will definitely carry a threat and get on the front foot like we did at Lincoln. They play very expansive and the full backs play high so there will be a chance to catch them on the break.”
The 30-year-old, who is set to sign a new deal at Chester for next season, was pleased with the response at Lincoln on Tuesday, with the Blues producing a positive reaction to the bitter disappointment of Saturday’s limp loss to York.
“We had to have a reaction from Saturday,” said Shaw, who signe for the Blues in the summer of 2015.
“We were all disappointed with that performance and we needed a reaction and they didn’t get into our half for the first six or seven minutes and we started on the front foot, which you have to do in this league. You have to earn the right to play.
“Everybody did their job and what the manager asked of them and we pushed a team close who are probably going to win the league and we had them rattled.
“One little mistake has cost us the game, giving the ball away cheaply then good teams will punish you. We knew we were going to be under the cosh at times, we knew there were going to be long throws and they are a physical team. But we stood up to everything and the lads are shattered, frustrated and a bit gutted that we didn’t get a point, or even three as I thought we played the better stuff.”