NEIL Young has called on players and supporters to forge a united front in the face of the very real threat to Chester FC’s championship chances.
The Blues boss issued the rallying cry after his team’s lead at the top was this week cut to three points by a relentless Skelmersdale United side who have played a game less.
Thirteen points clear just a month ago, the long-time leaders are beginning to show signs of cracking under the title pressure.
But on the eve of Saturday’s home clash with Cammell Laird (3pm), Young believes they can regain their composure with the help of the fans.
“Obviously it will go down to goal difference if we win out and Skem win out, but it is still in our hands and there’s still going to be a lot more twists and turns between now and the end of the season,” said Young, a former player and assistant manager at Lairds.
“A few of the lads look like they have got tired legs but it’s a big stage of the season and we’ve just got to make sure we win this league.
“The fans are turning out in their droves and I understand it if they are feeling frustrated.
“But like myself, they have to got to stay behind the team. We’ve got six games to go and what we don’t want is to fall into the play-offs. But to get to where we need to be, we need to stick together.”
Second-placed Skelmersdale are on an eight-match winning run but they face a difficult run-in which begins at fourth-placed Chorley on Saturday.
But Young concedes that his table-topping side will drop more points if they continue to shoot themselves in the foot.
Adam Judge’s goalkeeping gaffe in the 1-1 draw at Woodley Sports on Tuesday was the latest example of Chester’s worrying tendency to commit the most basic of defensive errors.
“I thought we the better team up until the goalkeeping error and if you look at the goals we’ve conceded in recent weeks, I think every one of them has been a mistake,” said Young, who defended his decision to select Michael Taylor and Michael Powell ahead of Michael Aspin and Bradley Barnes on the basis they offered extra height against a Woodley team dangerous from set-pieces.
“You can have all the game plans in the world but if we keep making the same mistakes, we’re in for an uphill battle.”
Saturday’s visit of lowly Lairds to the Exacta Stadium is the Blues’ penultimate home game of the season and is followed by a trip to fifth-placed Curzon Ashton on Monday (7.45pm).
Captain and centre-back George Horan will miss both matches through suspension.
But despite being sent-off in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Mossley, Iain Howard will be available as his three-game ban does not kick-in until Saturday week.