Chester FC boss Jon McCarthy admits he could have lost his job had the Blues’ poor form come earlier in the season.
The Blues won 1-0 at Torquay United on Saturday, their third away win in succession, to all but secure their National League status for another season.
Chester have now won two of their last three games to put an end to a miserable run of eight defeats in nine league games that saw them fall away from the play-off-chasing pack and leave them looking nervously over their shoulder for a short while.
But the poor run of form didn’t see Chester hauled into a relegation dogfight thanks to the good work done during the middle part of the campaign, where the Blues were beaten just once in 17 league games.
And McCarthy admits that had the bad form come earlier in the season then he could have been out of a job but is now instead able to start putting plans in place for next season.
“We had a sketchy start but we picked up some good results and then we went on that amazing run when we managed to get as high as seventh,” said the Chester boss.
“We fell away after Christmas, we know that, but there was never any panic from me as I knew we had put in the groundwork and that we would be able to get ourselves back on track.
“I know how it goes, though. If I would have lost eight games out of nine at the start of the season then I probably wouldn’t be in a job now. But we have shown what this team is capable of and, thanks to their efforts, we are now able to have one eye on next season.
“We still have a job to do this season and we are motivated and want to get into the 60-point mark and try and get in that top 12. I think that would be seen as a successful season when you judge it as a whole.
“But we are in a far better position that this time last year and it puts me in a stronger position when thinking about next season.”
Chester, who are still in search of their first home win of 2017, host relegation-threatened York City on Saturday (3pm).
Gary Mills’s Minstermen have been in the bottom four for much of the campaign but have been resurgent of late, hauling themselves to within two points of the safety.
But a 2-0 loss at home to Bromley on Tuesday night means that they arrive at Chester in desperate need of maximum points.
But McCarthy, a York legend from his time as a player at Bootham Crescent, won’t be doing them any favours.
“They need to win on Saturday, no doubt,” said the Chester boss.
“People were thinking they were the team who were going to get out of it but now they really need the points.
“That was us last season, and while I have plenty of wonderful memories from my time as a York player the only thing that matters to me on Saturday is that we do our job and get the three points so we can reach our targets.
“Because of their form it will be like playing a top-six team, I suppose. But there won’t be any favours from us.”