Chester FC begin life without Jon McCarthy today with captain John McCombe insisting the players must take part of the blame for his dismissal.

McCarthy was sacked in midweek after a 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Solihull Moors made it 18 losses from his 28 league matches in charge in 2017.

The former Northern Ireland international won over some of his doubters by bringing in a raft of impressive summer signings including McCombe.

But the pressure returned and intensified after a start to the season that sees Chester lie fourth from bottom and with just one win in eight games going into this afternoon's home clash with Ebbsfleet United (3pm kick-off).

And McCombe said: "The manager has gone now and he's taken the blame for the results we've had so far.

"But we (the players) have got to take a fair bit of the blame, too. We're out on the pitch and we know we've not performed as well we can.

"So we know we've got things to prove ourselves, both to the fans and the staff who remain here as well."

Should the Blues fail to overcome unbeaten Ebbsfleet it will extend their winless league run at the Chester Swansway Stadium to a club record 15 matches.

It is a run that stretches back to December 17 last year.

And McCombe said: "I wasn't here last year so I've not seen a lot of the (home) games.

"This year I thought the first couple of (home) games we performed all right, we were well in them and on different days we could have got three points, and that would have set us off on a better run.

"But the last couple of home games have been disappointing and we know that. We know the fans are frustrated. They've been great. In the last game here, against Macclesfield, they got right behind us and we gave them nothing to shout about.

"Hopefully they'll back us on Saturday and the lads will will be doing their best to get the three points.

"The fans have shown their frustration toward the manager in recent weeks and they're entitled to do that. They are the club, they stick with the club through thick and thin, and they pay their money to come and watch and have an opinion.

"They have stuck behind us but on Saturday we need to raise them and get them behind us. We saw that in the Sutton game, when we got on the front foot in the second half, that they really got behind us."