Chester FC chief executive Mark Maguire says securing the long-term future of manager Jon McCarthy is a top priority.

McCarthy signed a one-year deal as boss of the Blues in the summer with the option of an extension after being handed the reins following the sacking of Steve Burr, after winning three of the club’s final four games last season to ensure their National League survival.

In his first full season as a manager McCarthy has received plenty of plaudits after guiding the unfancied Blues, a club with limited resources, into the top half of the table with a young, hungry squad of players.

In his 32 Vanarama National League games as Blues boss McCarthy has achieved a record of 14 wins, nine draws and nine losses.

And with Chester looking optimistically up the table as opposed to glancing beneath them, Maguire believes that McCarthy is an asset that the club need to keep hold of.

“We are moving in the right direction at this football club and much of the credit, rightly, goes to the players for getting us into this position,” said Maguire.

“But Jon McCarthy is the architect of what is going on here and a huge asset for Chester Football Club. His work ethic, attention to detail and approach to his work and understanding of what the club is about is phenomenal and myself and the board all share the same view on the job that he is doing and how he is vital to our future success.

Chester FC boss Jon McCarthy

“Jon’s future is something that we have discussed. We are conscious of making sure we keep such a talented manager as the job he has done here on the resources we have is superb. I’m not sure there are many who could have done as well as he has. We are very lucky to have him.”

The performances of McCarthy’s young guns this season have been eye-catching and, with the January transfer window well and truly open, the rumour mill has been in overdrive.

Teenage defender Sam Hughes has been watched by scouts from Championship and Premier League clubs and Chester are bracing themselves for firm interest before the month is out.

Striker James Alabi was linked with a move to the Football League during the weekend but those rumours have been batted away by Maguire, insisting that no interest has been lodged with the club over the in-form 22-year-old, who bagged a brace in the 2-1 win at Braintree Town on Saturday.

But whatever happens, Maguire is adamant the club won’t be bullied in this transfer window.

“We will ensure we look after the interests of this football club and we certainly won’t roll over for bigger clubs,” he said, commenting on the reported interest in Hughes.

“With regards to James Alabi, we saw the rumours and they are baseless. We haven’t had any bids or contact from other clubs.

“Jon McCarthy has created a culture at this football club that the players buy in to. We want to keep our best players.”

Chester host Forest Green Rovers in the second round of the FA Trophy on Saturday, January 14, at 3pm.