IAN Rush has been rewarded for his achievements in reviving Chester City's fortunes by being awarded the Coca-Cola League Two manager of the month award for October.
Despite losing the final match of the month at Yeovil last Saturday, Rush held off Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws, Leyton Orient's Martin Ling and Colin Calderwood, of Northampton, to collect his first managerial honour.
The award is to recognise excellence in performance and Rush steered Chester to 11 points out of 18 in October.
Chairman of the awards panel Chris Kamara said: 'Ian took over at Chester after a dismal start to the season which saw them claim just two points in August. But his arrival rejuvenated the club and he took them on a 10-match unbeaten run. Ian thor-oughly deserves the award.'
Cortez Belle could be back to menace high-flying visitors Leyton Orient tomorrow as Chester bid to take their campaign to another level.
The big Welshman was suspended for the LDV Vans Trophy match on Tuesday but is expected to be available again after x-rays ruled out broken ribs following Saturday's defeat at Yeovil.
Despite Belle's reputation among rivals as a card-collecting battering ram, Rush believes the striker should get more protection himself.
Although he has yet to score, Belle is one of the most talked about - and feared - players in the division since he established himself in the City attack.
Grimsby boss Russell Slade said following the recent game at Chester that he couldn't understand how the striker managed to stay on the pitch.
Rush yesterday defended him. 'We know he is a bit raw but he has been taking a lot of rough treatment himself. He collected the rib injury at Yeovil and got no protection from the referee.
'The fact he is upsetting teams tells me he is doing a good job. It's an extra weapon in our armoury.'
Rush is expecting a severe test from Orient, who had an LDV Vans Trophy win at Cambridge United on Tuesday. He said: 'As the home side the onus is on us to win and after Saturday we will have a better idea of where we are, having lost at Yeovil last week.
'We want to take our game up a level and if that means bringing players in, that's what we'll do. But at the moment I am prepared to keep going as we are.'
Wayne Brown may figure in the Cheshire Senior Cup tie at Altrincham on Tuesday (7.45).
Chester's FA Cup first-round game at Stafford Rangers tomorrow week is all-ticket. Chester expect 900 tickets which will go on sale after tomorrow's game against Leyton Orient.
Season ticket holders can claim tickets on production of voucher A. Prices: £14 for adults (stand, no concessions) and £12 (terrace, £7 concessions). Non-season ticket holders should form a separate queue.
Only cash will be accepted and tickets will be sold at the rate of one per person. Postal applications will be accepted but the club will not be held responsible for late or non-delivery. Any remaining tickets will be sold on Monday between 10am and 4pm.
Whitley Bay are the visitors in the first round of the FA Youth Cup (7pm) next Thursday.