Jon McCarthy says he understands the frustrations of Chester FC fans but is adamant that his side have achieved their targets this season.
The Blues put in a valiant display at Sincil Bank on Tuesday when they went down 1-0 to National League table-toppers Lincoln City, a performance that was vastly improved from the limp 2-0 loss at home to York City on Saturday.
The result at Lincoln leaves Chester in 14th in the division with four games remaining and their target of achieving safety in non-league football’s top tier looks almost certain.
But a poor run of results since Christmas has seen them tumble down the league and they have yet to win at home in 2017 and left the pitch on Saturday to boos from some in the home stands.
And while McCarthy understands why supporters may feel aggrieved by recent form, the Blues boss also asked that some sections of the fanbase understood his frustrations at some of the negativity that has come about with Chester’s poor form.
“I can understand the frustrations, but can you understand mine?” he said.
“We know we would have wanted to push on but we have hit our targets. We have done what people asked us to do. We stayed up last season and I think we have stayed up this season. I expect us to go on a win a couple of the last few games and finish on a high because I think everyone deserves it.
“Yes I understand the frustrations because I know the game, but I’m hoping people understand ours as a group. We have worked extremely hard to put this club in a better position than last season.
“Our football club needs to recognise what this group of players have done. I know we have a 130-year odd history but we are a five-year-old, six-year-old club.
“I’m fighting the corner for my players. I’m big enough to take all the criticism that comes with it but that group of players deserve some credit for what they have done.
“We are a supporters-run club and I thank everyone for their contribution. They contribute to put a team out that can put a performance in against Lincoln. I think it is right what we have done this season. I know when we don’t play well but there is a real development on the pitch and off the pitch, there has been a real improvement.”
Next season Chester are once again likely to have one of the lowest budgets in the National League and will no doubt be tipped to struggle, with teams coming up from the lower leagues likely to arrive with considerable financial backing.
But McCarthy is hopeful that more money can be added to the budget, with the tribunal fee raised from the likely departure of Sam Hughes in the summer set to be a determining factor.
“I haven’t got a budget yet, but that is a positive thing,” said McCarthy, whose side travel to Forest Green Rovers tomorrow (3pm).
“The board are trying to improve things but, as it is, we have the same as this year.
“We know the type of teams that are coming up and this is going to be a professional league next year, even with our status and where we are at, that is exciting.
“The board are looking at every way that they can make the biggest budget possible.”