Chester FC joint-manager Anthony Johnson was full of praise for his and Bernard Morley's Blues side after an encouraging display against Football League opposition on Tuesday night.
The Blues put in an impressive performance in a 2-2 draw with League Two outfit Morecambe , where a Steve Howson header and a late Gary Roberts penalty cancelled out Andrew Fleming's opener and a Jason Oswell spot kick in the second half.
John Pritchard missed a first half penalty for Chester in a game where they more than matched their Football League opponents, especially in the second half.
And with just one friendly remaining for the Blues before the big National League North kick off on August 4 against Spennymoor Town, Johnson was pleased with what he saw and believes the side are ahead of schedule.
He said: "The last half an hour you wouldn't know which side was full time and which one wasn't. I'm not talking about fitness I'm talking about organisation, what we look like with the ball and what we look like without the ball.
"We're pleased with the performances, and pleased with the performance on Saturday (against Bury) as well. Competing with two League Two sides and looking the part. The main job is keeping our feet on the ground, it's always the case where the side playing that little bit lower competes that little bit more.
"In terms of how we look and where we thought we would be, we are probably well ahead of that if we're honest. There are still one or two missing things but overall we are pretty pleased. I thought we were the better team by a long stretch for parts of the game.
"The way we played and the way we applied ourselves was well above where we are in the pyramid if that makes sense."
One negative on the evening was the early withdrawal of captain Scott Burton who was replaced with just 12 minutes on the clock after feeling some discomfort with a tight muscle.
And Burton may miss Saturday's pre-season friendly with Everton under-23s as a precaution in order to ensure his availability for the season opener, with Johnson hopeful it isn't anything too serious.
"He said he felt it tighten in the warm up which does our head in a little bit because it would have been avoidable.
"He said it tightened up slightly so hopefully it is not something too serious, not a tear it is just a bit of tightness.
"It is disappointing as Robbo (Gary Roberts) has had a lot of minutes lately, including the Blacon game, but we thought we would start them two.
"He'll be icing it and anti-inflammatories and all the usual stuff, a masseuse trying to break it down and try and find out that it is not too serious. It can be the other way where you don't think it is that bad and it ends up worse than you think but we hope that it isn't that serious."