CHESTER face one of their biggest challenges of the season tomorrow when they bid to bounce back from their first defeat in 19 matches.
City lost 2-1 at home to Stevenage Borough on Saturday and tomorrow's trip to Conference newcomers Tamworth, where they will be seeking their 200th Conference goal, will be a test of their resilience and character.
Tamworth will have their tails up following their shock 1-0 win at City's promotion rivals Hereford United, and Chester will be without goalkeeper Wayne Brown who broke a bone in his foot in a training accident.
Ian McCaldon will again step up as deputy, but manager Mark Wright hasn't ruled out bringing in a loan player as cover for the six weeks Brown is expected to be sidelined.
'It is a blow but there is nothing to choose between the two,' said the City boss. 'We are lucky to have McCaldon.'
Wright expects his team to show no ill-effects from the Stevenage setback but knows Tamworth will be looking forward to toppling another of the Conference title-chasers.
'We have watched the video of the Stevenage match and the boys want to put things right,' he said.
'But I have always said that anyone can beat anyone in this league. I didn't think we deserved to lose on chances but we have to be better and we have the squad to be better.'
Apart from Brown, Wright doesn't have any injury worries for tomorrow, but he was due to contact Hull City yesterday in pursuit of the third division club's midfielder or wing-back Carl Regan, who made more than 30 appearances last term.
He is available for transfer and has been training at the Deva this week. Added Wright: 'We are more than pleased with him and we want him, but we need to sort a few things out with him first.'
He wants Regan, who is 23 and a former Everton and England youth international player, to fill the gap left by Jon Brady, who has joined Stevenage until the end of the season and was substitute in the game against Aldershot on Tuesday.
His departure has left a sour taste in the mouth of the manager, who claimed Brady hadn't told them the full story about his desire to leave.
The midfielder is supposed to be going to Arsenal as a coach to the club's U16s, but there was no indication he could have been on his way to Stevenage.
'I think Brady has been disrespectful,' he said. 'We agreed to his release so he could go to Arsenal and he was supposed to be joining a small club near Northampton in the meantime. That was the arrangement as far as we were concerned and I'm not happy about what has happened.'
Mark Beesley, released by Chester last week, was set to sign for Northwich last night. He had already rejected a move to the Cheshire club and received an offer from Leigh, who provide City's Boxing Day and New Year's Day opposition.
Steve Brodie, unable to get into the Chester first team this season, could be going to Droylsden. City have agreed terms with the UniBond League club.
Chester's Conference match at Woking on Saturday, February 28 is being screened live on Sky Sports (5.35pm ko).
There are still half-season tickets available from the Deva Stadium, starting with the Boxing Day visit of Leigh.