IAN Rush has made a plea for unity as Chester City bid to turn around league form which has produced only two points from the last 15.
The Blues boss is concerned that an angry confrontation between striker Kevin Rapley and a City fan at the end of the game at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday could be symptomatic of a rift between the supporters and the players and management.
He has urged the fans to get behind the team, starting at tomorrow's clash with Shrewsbury Town.
Rapley, who has been targeted by disgruntled fans in recent games, was pulled away from a fan on Tuesday by Rush who said: 'He was frustrated following the defeat and he is only human. I will be having a word with him and telling him he must concentrate on the game and not on supporters.
'I am not saying this incident will affect my decisions for Saturday's team because I won't be allowing the supporters to pick the team. I will decide how Rapley's confidence has been affected and take the appropriate action. But he wasn't the only player affected by comments from fans and the same applies to them.'
With both teams desperate to find form in League Two following promotion from the Conference, this is going to be a highlycharged all-ticket game and will be a test of Cortez Belle's self-discipline as he prepares to return from a four-match suspension.
Rush all but confirmed the big striker would play following 70 minutes in the reserves' 1-0 defeat by Blackpool on Wednesday.
'Belle is a naturally aggressive player and if you took that aggression away he would not be as effective,' he said. 'He will get booked, but I don't want him getting booked for silly offences.'
Rush will not name his team until tomorrow, but he will be without Sean Hessey who is suspended for one match.
There is also a big doubt about Darren Edmondson, who has a groin injury. A decision will be made as late as possible.
And the City boss has still to decide who plays in goal. Wayne Brown was brought back for the LDV Vans Trophy game against
Wrexham and played in the FA Cup at Halifax, but took the brunt of the criticism for gifting two goals to Bristol Rovers.
'Both goalkeepers will be working with our goalkeeping coach Glan Letheran and we will make a decision after that,' he added.
Rush knows his team face a tough test tomorrow. 'The way things are in the table this is definitely a six-pointer,' he said. 'We have watched Shrewsbury, but I am more concerned about our team. We are going back to basics and that means keeping clean sheets.'
The Shrews, beaten 2-0 by Rochdale in midweek, have collected only six points on their travels this season and have lost five of their last six games.
Tickets for tomorrow's game will be on sale today, but no tickets will be available tomorrow.
The league game at Macclesfield on New Year's Day is all-ticket. Tickets are expected to go on sale next week.
Chester have been drawn at Bournemouth in the third-round of the FA Cup on January 8. The Cherries are expected to be watched by Rush in a League One game at Tranmere Rovers tonight.