Rhys Oates returns to the Chester FC squad for the FA Trophy first round clash with AFC Telford United on Saturday (3pm).

Oates, on loan from Barnsley, was ineligible to face his parent club last weekend and will probably replace Craig Hobson, who will be saved for the FA Cup rematch on Tuesday.

Steve Burr will be waiting on a call from Jon Worsnop in the morning with the keeper expecting his protective mask to be delivered first thing.

Worsnop fractured two bones in his cheek against Barnsley but does not require an operation and was fitted for the mask this week in London.

Back-up keeper Connor Roberts will come in for his first league start if the mask does not arrive.

Peter Winn and Josh O'Keefe remain unavailable and Burr hopes to bring in some new faces to boost his squad when the transfer window reopens in January.

Burr said: "I know how much Jon wants to be in the team to play Telford on Saturday and if he feels right and our medical team are happy then as far as I'm concerned Jon can carry on.

"I think we've had some bad luck this season and especially at times when we don't really want it

"Winny has been injured and then we've brought Josh O'Keefe in and he's picked up a knock so we are desperate to strengthen in January and hopefully we can do that."

His side face a Telford outfit struggling for form and fitness this weekend, in a game that brings the clubs together again less than a fortnight after they met at the Swansway Chester Stadium for a Vanarama Conference fixture.

Chester won 2-0 that night, courtesy of a Matty Brown header and an Andy Parry own goal, and will be looking to put one over Liam Watson’s men again this weekend.

Matty Brown celebrates his goal in the 2-0 win over Telford last time the sides met
Matty Brown celebrates his goal in the 2-0 win over Telford last time the sides met

Telford are bottom of the league and have won only one of their last seven games in all competitions, a 2-1 victory over Basingstoke Town in the FA Cup last month.

Watson's side have since crashed out of the competition, losing 1-0 in a brave injury-time defeat to Bristol City on Sunday, and went down 2-1 to Welling in the league on Tuesday.

The heavy fixture list is taking its toll. Rod McDonald pulled out of the Welling game before kick-off after picking up a knock, while skipper Steve Akrigg had to be substituted at half time for the same reason.

Telford had asked for permission to put the game back 24 hours, allowing them more time to recover, but this was refused.

Player-coach Andy Todd admitted after the Welling match that the likes of Mike Grogan, Godfrey Poku, Andy Parry, Adam Farrell and Ryan Higgins all looked visibly tired on the night.

Todd added: “It was one of those games that we had to take by the scruff of the neck and get the points on the board.

“I actually thought that, even though we were playing poorly and we conceded again within the first five minutes of the second-half, we got ourselves back into the game with a scrappy goal. Then, a few minutes after we get into the game, we press the self-destruct button.

“If we could have managed to see things through for the 10 minutes after we had equalised then at worst we were going to get a point. But we just shot ourselves in the foot.”

Telford’s squad includes former Blues Freddy Hall, Tony Gray and Kristian Platt.