Captain Matty Brown says the Blues must be willing to do the dirty work to get themselves back on track.

A run of five games without a win has taken some of the gloss off what has been an encouraging first half of the season for Chester FC.

At times the football on show has been a pleasure to watch and the squad have deserved the plaudits that have been received.

But there have been moments too when the team has been guilty of attempting to live up to that reputation rather than winning the arm wrestle.

Centre back Brown shares that concern although insists there is a quick fix: hard work.

Brown said: “I don’t think we got carried away but we had people calling us a good footballing team and maybe that’s had an impact.

“You’ve got to earn the right to play football because teams aren’t just going to roll over and I don’t know if we’ve been doing that enough.

“You’ve got to be prepared to match your opponents, especially in this league, and then your quality will come through.

“The games we have got coming up over Christmas are winnable games but we need to a bit more patient and a bit more professional in earning the right to play our football.

“We have got to do that because no-one is going to let us play football but it’s not just about saying it, we’ve got to go out and do it because we don’t want to start sliding down the table.”

Chester host Altrincham on Boxing Day (3pm) and a defeat would see the Robins, who are two places outside the relegation zone, move level on points with the Blues.

Brown said the squad was hurting from the 3-0 defeat at Barnet on Saturday and being knocked out of the FA Trophy on penalties 48 hours later.

Chester were on the wrong end of a couple of contentious decisions in North London but had no such excuses on Monday.

Brown said: “We had a good run in the FA Cup and we wanted to do the same in the FA Trophy so losing to Telford was very disappointing.

“I thought we started well but it was the same as the game down there: once we scored we took our foot of the gas.

“I think as a team we’ve got to start being more ruthless and professional about things.

“You’re never safe at 1-0 and we had the sense on the pitch that one goal wasn’t going to be enough.

“It was another bad goal to give away and at the moment it seems to be our mistakes that are giving teams goals, not them opening us up.

“When Telford scored the emphasis of the game changes and we didn’t create much after that.

“We had a difficult shift at Barnet on Saturday with 10 men and to have only one day of rest was hard but that’s not an excuse because it was the same for Telford and it’s our profession as footballers so we’ve got to get on with it.”