Defender George Horan is delighted to be the man leading Chester FC out at Warrington Town tonight, (7.45pm).
Blues boss Neil Young awarded Horan the captain’s armband after the central defender put in a string of impressive pre-season performances.
And while Horan, who was made captain of Rhyl under Young, admitted surprise at the decision, he is relishing the opportunity.
“I didn’t know I was captain until last week when the manager pulled me to one side,” he said.
“I was surprised because there are some very experienced players in the squad like Carl Ruffer and Andy Burgess, but I was delighted and proud to do the job.
“It will be great to lead Chester out in their first game back.”
Horan understands just how important the game is for the fans given that he lives just a stone’s throw away in Upton.
However, the 28-year-old admits surprise at the avid Chester following, adding: “I didn’t realise that it was such a big occasion until I came off against Nantwich and saw people queuing around the corner to get tickets.
“The amount of fans we have had is great, the best thing was the game when Chester races was on and 40,000 people attended that but we still had 1,400 watching us.
“Living in the community it was a surprise just how much it was missed in the three months it was gone, there is a real buzz around the place at the moment.
“It is great for the club and great for the city the amount of support we have. It also helps with the fans being involved and on the committee.”
Chester have enjoyed a successful pre-season campaign, winning six and drawing one of their nine matches dating back to the opener against Young’s former side Colwyn Bay on July 10.
As a result Horan admits his side will be fully prepared for the season ahead and aiming to hit the ground running at Warrington.
“It is a must,” he declared when asked how important a win in the opener was.
“Pre-season was good but it doesn’t mean much at the end of the day. We need to get off to a good start. I know it is a cliche, but a good first month will really help.
“A good start breeds a winning habit and it would be great for me personally to lead the side to a victory, but the important thing is that we also realise their will be hiccups along the way.
“It will not be as easy as everyone thinks, I speak to some fans in the city and they think we are going to win the league by 30 or 40 points.
“Fans have told me that we are playing the best football by a Chester team for the last 10 years but we can’t expect to win every game, clubs will raise their game against us whether it is at the Deva or at their ground.”
With that in mind Horan admits that manager Young will be crucial to the Blues’ title hopes.
And the Chester boss is no stranger to this league having led Colwyn Bay to promotion last season.
“He has done it before at this level,” said Horan. “He has also openly said that this squad is better than the one he had at Colwyn Bay so that is promising.
“He has persuaded players to come to the club despite offers from higher up – myself included.
“We haven’t come for the money, we have come to play for the manager, the fans and at a fantastic stadium, the set-up is good for any player.”
Meanwhile, Carl Ruffer and Danny Mahoney will miss the Warrington trip through injury.
Mark Connolly is absent with his wife expected to give birth and Richard Foulkes is lacking match practice.
- Chester have completed the signing of central midfielder Tom Field from Droylsden, while he is hoping to tie up a deal for former Southport man Bradley Barnes.
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