NEIL Young has reminded his players about the responsibilities and pressures that come with playing for Chester FC.
The Blues are enjoying a fine season but back-to-back defeats to teams they should have beaten has led to their manager delivering a curt wake-up call.
Young said: “Irrespective of what Chester Football Club are now, Chester City have a massive history behind them and every team that we play wants our scalp – and I’ve told the players that.
“We’ve seen that in the last week with Newcastle Town and Radcliffe Borough, so we’ve got to be prepared to be up for it whoever we play.
“It’s not the same for the players as it was at some of their other clubs, when some weeks teams were on it and some weeks they weren’t.
“When teams play Chester, home or away, they are always on it and we have to be prepared for that.”
Chester will attempt to halt their mini-slump with victory in Saturday’s trip to title rivals Curzon Ashton (3pm).
But with the country braced for another cold snap, there is a chance the Evo-Stik League match of the day will fall victim to the wintry weather.
That is the last thing the Blues boss wants as his table-topping side have just returned from an enforced three-week break.
Young, whose squad has also been hit by flu, said: “We want this game on because we’ve got to aim to get back to where we were before the games were called off.
“We were flying, playing really well and the teams up with us at the top couldn’t get near us.
“The break has disrupted us, but it’s disrupted every team, so we’ve got to be big enough and strong enough to get on with it.”
Chester’s travelling party on Saturday will include a new recruit.
Young has moved to ease the burden on Michael Wilde by signing a striker he believes is cast in the same mould as his talismanic top-scorer.
Wilde has now scored 19 goals in as many matches but Young does not want his team to become over-reliant on their main marksman.
That is why he has swooped for highly-rated youngster Michael Clarke from league rivals Woodley Sports.
Young said: “I’ve been watching Michael since last season but I stepped in this week because a number of clubs, including ones from the Football League, were looking at him.
“He’s a young Michael Wilde in terms he’s big, strong and scores goals. He’s only 21, Stockport County have been keen on him, and I think he will be a great signing for us.”
Young is also chasing a centre-back with experience of playing in the Blue Square North, but that deal is unlikely to be completed before the weekend.
Chester officials are calling on supporters to help them lay the club’s new £10,000 pitch covers for the first time.
With sub-zero temperatures set to make an unwelcome return, the frost sheets will be spread across the Exacta Stadium surface this afternoon in a bid to ensure the big home clash with Durham City on Monday, December 27 beats the big freeze.
Fans who can lend a hand are asked to meet at the ground at midday today.
The capacity at the Exacta has been increased from 3,598 to 4,168 following a meeting with the ground’s Safety Advisory Group.
The Blues have been drawn away to fellow First Division North outfit AFC Fylde in the quarter-finals of the Evo-Stik League President’s Cup. The last-eight tie will take place on Wednesday, January 26 (7.45pm).
Chester’s home game with Woodley Sports, which was postponed last Wednesday because of a frozen pitch, has been rearranged for Wednesday, March 30 (7.45pm).