CHESTER fans have been hailed as magnificent after the club revealed it is heading for 1,000 season ticket sales for the second year running and in double quick time.

Blues general manager Pat Cluskey is confident of smashing through the four-figure barrier before the campaign kicks-off having been hugely encouraged by first month sales.

Cluskey expects to bring up 800 sales by close of business today equalling the amount sold across the whole of last summer before an extra 200 half- season tickets were snapped up at Christmas.

Cluskey said: The sales are magnificent. Given we will have hit the 800-mark a full six weeks before the season begins and given we did not offer any early bird discounts, the volume of support has been fantastic.

When we put out season ticket prices we didnt set a target because we didnt know whether some season tickets last year were bought as a gesture or a donation as it was the clubs first season.

Were still not setting any targets but its fair to say we have been flabbergasted by the response. We hope to have reached 800 by Thursday night and then I would like to think we would sell 200 in the next six weeks.

Sales of 771 season tickets which have increased in price have given Chesters bank balance a healthy glow according to Cluskey. But the club will not be resting on its laurels.

The Blues will have a stall at this weekends Chester Rocks music festival while club officials and players will be out in force at fetes and community events across the summer.

Cluskey said: Its important we continue to bang the drum for Chester FC.

The people buying season tickets may well have been the people who paid on the gate on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings last season. Well miss that revenue so well be out working hard to bring in new people to the club.

Existing season tickets holders have until 4pm today to renew their seats.

To cope with demand for season tickets, the Exacta Stadium will be open from 10am-noon on Saturday.

Neil Young, meanwhile, will continue to put his players through their paces tonight with a run on the New Brighton sand dunes.

Young is delighted with how the new-look Blues are shaping up.

However one player who will be leaving the Exacta is veteran centre-back Carl Ruffer.

The 36-year-old, who also played for Chester between 2000 and 2004, is free to talk to other clubs.

Young said: Carl had a great season but he needs to be playing every week and I cant guarantee that. Whoever gets hold of him will get a top-drawer player with a great attitude.