Tom Shaw believes Chester FC have the character to bounce back from successive defeats in the Vanarama National League and keep battling at the right end of the division.

Chester lifted themselves to as high as seventh place prior to the double header with Solihull Moors, where the Midlands side triumphed 3-2 on Boxing Day and 3-0 at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on New Year's Day.

The two results burst the Blues' bubble somewhat and the air of optimism felt among some fans before Christmas has started to wane.

But Shaw, one of Chester's standout performers this season, says the players still believe.

"We know how well we have done and we are still keen to improve and get better," said the 30-year-old midfielder.

"But we have set a real high standard this season so results like New Year's Day, we'll be soon trying to turn that round.

"It is a growing squad so events like Boxing Day with some interesting refereeing decisions, it is a chance to learn. Both games we lost some focus a little bit whereas if we would have stuck to the plan we might have got something from those games.

"As a senior player I will take something from those two defeats and the younger players will learn that if we stick to our game plan there is always a chance to get back in the game."

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Chester travel to struggling Braintree Town this weekend looking to bounce back to winning ways but will come up against an Essex side who went unbeaten in five games before losing 3-0 to Dagenham & Redbridge on New Year's Day.

The Blues look set to be without the services of Ryan Lloyd and Theo Vassell for the trip after the duo's loan spells came to an end on New Year's Day.

The club are hopeful of keeping the duo and, while admitting their loss is a blow, Shaw believes there is the talent in the ranks to cope.

He said: "It would be a blow. They have been very good players for us. Hopefully they can return but if they don't then it is a chance for somebody who has been waiting in the wings to maybe step up and fill the void.

"You can see Matty Waters improving every day in training. What I like is that, for a young lad, his decision making is fantastic and that is going to give him a great chance with the attributes he has got already.

"There are some characters in the squad that will ensure we keep pushing on. All the hard work we have done won't be wasted.

"There are some tough fixtures but we want to pit our wits against some of the best teams in the league to see where we are at."