His actions before and after his summer switch to Wrexham are sure to make John Rooney a target for the boo boys in tomorrow's derby at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium (3pm).

But Jon McCarthy insists he has no problem with the player who controversially swapped the blue of Chester FC for the red of the Dragons.

Rooney initially rubbished rumours of a cross-border switch after he helped the Blues secure their Vanarama National League survival and in turn McCarthy the manager's job on a full-time basis.

But within a month he had completed a move to Wrexham who he immediately dubbed a 'massive club' who 'are always at the right end of the table'.

Chester fans were further riled when Rooney left former team-mate Craig Mahon writhing in agony with a two-footed lunge in this season's first meeting of the bitter rivals.

McCarthy had no doubt the 26-year-old should have seen red at the Racecourse.

John Rooney recklessly challenges Chester's Craig Mahon during the 0-0 derby Racecourse draw in September

But the Blues boss holds no ill feeling toward Rooney whose tally of 26 goals in 112 league appearances for the club included a stunning free kick in last season's corresponding derby clash.

The brother of England and Manchester United captain Wayne makes his first return to the Deva tomorrow.

And McCarthy, whose Chester side would move seven points clear of the Dragons with victory, said: "Rooney was massive for us.

"He was always our key player and always our danger player. Just because he goes and puts a red shirt on doesn't mean that will change.

"He's a strong character, and for all of that stuff that goes on about the change and the move, I think he's misundetstood. He just loves football and he wants to work hard and he wants to win all the time. He'll be a threat.

"I like John. I've got respect for John and on Saturday we'd hope to frustrate him and make sure he's not involved in the game.

"But it makes me smile when John does well because I like him. That said I don't want him to be smiling on Saturday."

Rooney is joined in the Wrexham squad by fellow former Blues Anthony Barry and Paul Rutherford.

While Chester's ranks includes a trio of ex-Dragons in Johnny Hunt, who returns from suspension tomorrow, Elliott Durrell, who would have no hesitation celebrating against his old club, and Blaine Hudson, who opened the scoring in the derby made famous by Ben Heneghan's injury-time winner.

And McCarthy said: "They've (Hunt, Durrell, Hudson) done well for Wrexham but they'll end up in the John Rooney situation and I find that strange.

Blaine Hudson celebrates giving Wrexham the lead at Chester in September 2014
Blaine Hudson celebrates giving Wrexham the lead at Chester in September 2014

"My lad had something on the other night about Michael Owen and it showed when he went back to Liverpool and the stick he got when he played for Manchester United. Wow, Michael Owen, and what he did for Liverpool. So our players need to expect it. They'll get a bit of stick but it's part of the game and I'm sure they will cope with it.

"And I do feel very much the players who served their time and did well for Wrexham are Chester players now and that's a great thing.

"Blaine Hudson owes us a goal, he scored one against us, so he needs to even that up on Saturday."