Paul Turnbull says the bookmakers’ pre-season predictions of a relegation battle for Chester FC are laughable.
A number of bookmakers, most recently Coral, have released their odds for the 2017/18 Vanarama National League campaign and have the Blues languishing in the bottom four come the end of the season.
Having risen as high as seventh by Christmas time last season Chester fell away spectacularly in the New Year before ending the campaign in 19th, two points above the drop zone.
But Jon McCarthy’s summer business has been impressive and additions such as midfielder Turnbull, Kingsley James, Ross Hannah, John McCombe, Andy Halls, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Harry White and Nyal Bell is undoubtedly stronger than the one that finished the season.
Not that it reflects in the bookies’ odds.
“We don’t (pay any attention) to be honest,” said Turnbull, who penned a two-year deal from Barrow in the summer.
“It’s all over social media that we are favourites to go down. The boys are laughing about it, really. We know that we are going to do business on the pitch and we are going to be challenging at the right end of the table. The bookies have got it wrong, the boys are happy with it and we’ll prove them wrong.”
The midfield pairing of Turnbull and James looks set to be the first choice for McCarthy come the season opener at Solihull Moors on August 5.
The duo haven’t played with each other before linking up with the Blues but Turnbull was well aware of James and his talents and has been pleased with how the two have hit it off.
“I’ve played against Kings quite a lot so I know his strengths and his weaknesses but on the training ground and with the games we have playing it has been working quite well and long may it continue,” said the former Macclesfield Town and Northampton Town man.
“But the lads are all top drawer. They are a top bunch of lads and I can’t wait for the season to start now.”
And with the visit of Port Vale on Saturday (3pm) representing Chester’s final pre-season clash of a gruelling schedule, Turnbull says that training has been ramped up a notch in readiness for a week on Saturday when the Blues get down to business in the National League.
“The training is intense and the gaffer has stepped everything up,” said Turnbull.
“We have been doing some set pieces and working on some team shape today (Thursday). We’ve got a few things to work on in training still and obviously we will be working very hard and next week work even harder going in to Solihull.
“From a personal point of view the 45 minutes three times a week has helped me massively.”