CONSOLIDATION is the last thing on Neil Young’s mind as he prepares to lead Chester FC out into the Conference Premier for the first time.
The ambitious Blues boss has lofty ambitions for his side’s maiden season in the non-league top flight.
Young will set them the challenge of winning the club’s fourth successive title – and promotion into the Football League.
Deep down he knows that is highly unrealistic given part-time Chester, who kick off their campaign at Edgar Davids’s relegated Barnet on Saturday (3pm), are going to be up against opponents with bigger budgets and stronger infrastructures.
But Young sees no reason why the Blues cannot finish in the top half of a division containing heavyweights like Luton Town and fierce rivals Wrexham.
That would still represent a superb achievement.
Only one club – Kettering Town in 2008-09 – have finished 12th or above after winning the Conference North.
Young said: “I always set myself a target – and that’s to win the league.
“I know some people might think ‘has he lost the plot’, but I never go into a season thinking I just want to stay up.
“I’m a big believer in not altering your targets until they cannot be reached.
“Is it a target that people would expect? No. Is it a target I would expect? Possibly not.
“But you can’t go into a league season thinking you just want to stay up, although that might be the outcome.
“You’ve got to be realistic and realistically I think we can definitely finish in the top half of the table with a bit of luck.”
Chester follow up the trip to a Barnet team managed by iconic former Holland midfielder Davids with a visit of Hereford United to the Deva Stadium on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Clashes with Woking (H) and heavily fancied duo Kidderminster Harriers (A) and Forest Green Rovers (H) follow before the Blues make their way to the Racecourse for the eagerly awaited derby with Wrexham, last season’s losing play-off finalists.
“We couldn’t have asked for a much harder start,” said Young, who is still chasing a centre-back and left-midfielder. “But what is good is that it will allow us to evaluate where we are pretty quickly.
“Barnet are former Football League, Martin Foyle has done an unbelievable job at Hereford and they finished sixth last season, Woking were one of the top part-time teams last season, then you’ve got Kidderminster, Forest Green and Wrexham.
“It doesn’t come any tougher – they should have just thrown Luton in there too to get them all out the way!
“We’ve got to go into the games being nice and positive.
“The fans have got to stay behind us even if we lose the first six games – and if we happen to win them, expectation has to stay where it is.
“But what I will say is we have got a fantastic group of players and we will all be giving our best for the club.”