Three points from the five games before and after Christmas in 2014-15. Five from five the season after. Safe to say Chester FC fans have had little festive cheer these past two years.

Having previously been number two to Steve Burr, Jon McCarthy is acutely aware of that.

That is why he set his side the minimum target of six points from the home clash with Aldershot Town, the double-header with Solihull Moors, the trip to Braintree Town and then the big one, the derby encounter with Wrexham at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.

The Blues are halfway to achieving their manager's objective following the victory over Aldershot.

But now McCarthy wants more.

Not that he will be underestimating a newly promoted Solihull team who are 12 points and nine places below his.

And not that he will be underestimating the difficulties associated with being a part-time player over one of the busiest periods of the year.

Chester FC boss Jon McCarthy

But, after a run of just one defeat in 17 league games, Chester will head to Solihull on Boxing Day (3pm) in fine fettle.

"We're on a good run," said McCarthy ahead of the Blues' final training session before Christmas. "I've got players who are in good form and who are confident.

"The way our part-time structure is, we train today (Friday) and then I won't see my players until Boxing Day. That can cause problems but I trust them and it just means I have to be really concise and really on the ball with my analysis and with the information I give them before the game on Boxing Day.

"We're looking forward to it. Solihull have got good players and decent resources. For their first season in this league, they've coped pretty well. It will be a difficult game.

"Christmas has traditionally been a time when we've not picked up many points. But now that we've won that game (Aldershot), which was vital, can we change that picture this year and can we actually edge closer to that 50-point mark, which would have us safe."

Chester are 11 points from reaching that magic number after a superb start to the season which sees them sitting seventh going into their final outing of 2016.

And McCarthy added: "Christmas and pre-season are hard for us as a part-time club. That's not a negative and that's not a criticism of our football club.

"It's actually a real compliment to the work that goes on here and how we adapt and how we cope in this league - and to be coping this well this season.

"Everyone at the football club, the target is to push to get stronger, and maybe be in for another day (training) next year, and push toward owning the players for 52 weeks, then owning them full-time, and being able to pay wages so we can really push and challenge to enter the next league.

"Everybody at the club is on that route. If it's going to happen, it needs to be steady progress, but there is a real strategy and a real belief we can do it at some point.

"But at this moment, yes it's difficult. Christmas is difficult because some of our lads still have to work.

"The one consolation this year is that there are only the two games. That makes it better for us. I have a little less contact with my players but it makes it better because there's only six points over that period and the gap in between.

"And the fact that it's only one team, Solihull, almost makes my preparation easier, and hopefully I can come up with a game plan which brings us success."