Chester FC 4 Wigan Athletic XI 0
ROBERTO Martinez returned to the Deva Stadium on Sunday to find his former club revitalised and ready to push for promotion.
After his youngsters were comprehensively beaten by Neil Young’s vibrant side, the Wigan boss admitted to being taken aback by the huge steps the Blues have made since rising from the ashes of Chester City FC.
Martinez, who played for Chester during the 2006-07 season, said: “The history of the football club should never have been put in danger, but this is a fresh start and now I can see a bright new future.
“I could see the passion and the energy in the supporters – they were really enjoying it again. Then I looked at the players and I could see they have a great togetherness and a great desire to play for Chester FC.
“Watching that side, and looking at the crowd and the shape of the club, I don’t think they will be far away from promotion.”
Martinez was given a rapturous reception by the 1,638 crowd when his arrival in the stands was announced over the tannoy.
Having led his Premier League stars through a training session earlier in the day, the Spaniard missed the start of the match but saw most of the second half. It meant Wigan’s youthful team at the Deva was managed by another former Chester favourite – Graham Barrow.
The popular former Blues boss and captain, now first-team coach at Wigan, said: “The most pleasing thing for Chester is the fact that physically and technically they look good. In the lower leagues you need to have strong physical lads at the back and in midfield. They’ve got that, but the good thing is they can also play a bit as well.”
Michael Wilde broke the deadlock with his fifth goal in as many games before trialist Oliver Ryan, substitute Rob Hopley and captain George Horan found the net to leave the home faithful dreaming of a season of glory.
Blues boss Young was delighted by the performance, but he believes there is still room for improvement before the Evo-Stik League First Division North campaign gets under way.
Young said: “I’m glad we kept another clean sheet as it means we’ve only conceded one goal in the last four games while at the same time scoring 13.
“We’ve worked very hard behind the scenes to bring this group of players together, but while it’s going well, we’re still not the finished article.”