It's back to business for Chester FC on Saturday as they welcome Eastleigh to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium (3pm) for their first match in more than two weeks.
Chester were left kicking their heels last weekend after their scheduled trip to Lincoln City was postponed due to their opponents' exploits in the FA Cup.
Jon McCarthy said at the time that he did not welcome the break - especially as the rearranged clash with the Imps will see his side playing four games in the space of 10 days next month .
But, on reflection, the Blues boss believes it has been beneficial as the run-in to the end of the season begins in earnest.
It is a season in which Chester have yet to secure their safety after what McCarthy admits has been the rockiest spell of his reign.
But, with the Eastleigh match being followed by the visit of Macclesfield Town to the Deva on Tuesday (7.45pm), he knows they have the perfect chance to end any slim drop fears.
Macca on the break
"It has given me a little chance to put in a bit of how we want to work next year and start it now. So that's been a bonus. It was almost to have a bit of a mini pre-season. The lads have worked very hard.
"And it gave me the chance to go and watch quite a few under-23 games locally and update my knowledge of what is around because we get a lot of names of players thrown at us.
"And, as I say, we've been able to have a good look at how we do things within our training environment in terms of the culture and the timing of it. It's been good and it has led to an increase in volume of what we’ve done, which the players have accepted, which is great, as they know that’s where it's heading next year.
"So actually coming out of the break I'm very happy we've had the chance to do that whereas at first I was just thinking, 'why have we been thrown this?' We've made the best of what was not an ideal situation."
Macca on Eastleigh
"I think it will surprise everyone that we're level on points with them. I think people will be disappointed with Eastleigh and surprised at how well we've done.
" It was our most outstanding and most significant result of the season to go to their place and win 3-0 . It was at a time when we lost Ian Sharps and we were trying to get a assistant manager. It was an outstanding performance from the group. Physically, tactically, we got everything right.
"We're still in a tough run where we've played a lot of the teams at the top of the league. There’s been a lot of good performances in there but we haven't quite been able to turn them into points.
"But there have been a lot of positives I have been able to take and I've been able to learn exactly what we need to do to turn the Tranmere, Dover and Dagenham performances into more points. That's another five or six points and, if we had them, we'd already be safe and right up there
"Eastleigh and Macclesfield pose almost the end of that really difficult run and it's very important we get to 52 points, which would have us completely safe. We're six away from that. It is possible to do that from the next two games and I'd like to be a lot closer to it if we haven’t achieved it by the end of Tuesday night."
Macca on freshness
"Physically we should be in a good position but, as we've not played for two weeks, I need to get them in the game frame of mind. So there's been a real element at training this week about intensity and game-type situations; 11 v 11. It's about putting the players up against each other, to see who’s the best, and to see who should play in the team on Saturday.
"If I get the benefit of the rest and recovery element, and I can switch them straight back on to the demands of a National League game from the first minute on Saturday, then we get an advantage from it. If it takes 15-20 minutes to remember then we could find it a difficult atmosphere.
"So hopefully what I've put into place we get the advantage we could have rather than the negative."
Macca on injuries
"Tom Shaw's back training; Jordan Chapell and Craig Mahon we know they're gone, and while (James) Akintunde is back in doing most of the sessions with us, he's not quite there.
"So really there's been no benefit over the couple of weeks in terms of injuries other than Tom Shaw is back in training with the group after missing that first week. It's whether he's quite up to speed to be involved but it's still good to have him and his influence around the place.
"But actually it's a lot healthier than it has been at previous times of the season when it’s been a lot, lot worse with a small squad."