KINGSLEY JAMES has targeted a play-off challenge with Chester after agreeing to re-join the Blues from Macclesfield Town.
The midfielder made a shock return to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium yesterday, penning a two-year deal from Cheshire rivals Macc, and the 25-year-old will officially re-join the Blues on July 1.
James, who became a firm fans’ favourite during the 2014-15 campaign – making 43 appearances and scoring twice – left Chester that summer to join Halifax Town, where he scored 11 times in 57 matches and helped win the FA Trophy, but also suffered relegation.
He linked up with Macclesfield last season, making 47 appearances and once again reaching the FA Trophy final, losing to York City, but leapt at the chance to link up with Blues’ boss Jon McCarthy once again.
James, who began his career at Sheffield United before moving to Port Vale and Hereford, believes Chester should be setting their sights on challenging for the play-off places next year, especially with new the play-off positions set to be expanded to include six teams.
“The gaffer works hard here, I know he worked hard when he was assistant here and he’s always keen to be working hard behind the scenes,” he explained.
“Seeing the players he’s brought to the club, and what his ambitions are, it solidified it for me.
“No disrespect, but the players who have been brought in mean it’s a much stronger team than it was when I was last here, so hopefully we can push that further, get on a good run in the league and get up the top end.
“Now the play-offs have been extended we want to be there and challenging for the play-offs. We’ve got to be aiming for that.
“We’ve got to come back in pre-season, work as hard as we possibly can and get ourselves fighting up there.”
“I’m really excited to get going,” James continued.
“I’m glad to be working with the gaffer again and delighted to be back at Chester.
“I went there to try and get back in the Football League and things didn’t quite work out there and for me, Chester was the best option.
“We spoke and got it done relatively quickly because my mind was made up. If I wasn’t going up to the league, I wanted to come back here.”
James, the third Macclesfield player to make the switch to Chester following Andy Halls and John McCombe’s arrivals, admits the offer of a two-year contract with the Blues was a ‘huge’ factor in making the switch.
“I need that stability,” he continued. “Myself and my wife have just bought a new home so that two-year deal is perfect and it settles me, I know now I’ve got to give everything I’ve got for Chester for these next two years, and I will do as I did when I was here last time.
“We’re Yorkshire-based so there’s a bit of travelling involved but I’m used to that, I’ve done it all my career so it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s nothing new to me.”
During his sole season with Chester, Steve Burr’s side embarked on a terrific FA Cup run, knocking out Southend away before ultimately losing out to Barnsley in a second round replay after securing a battling 0-0 draw at Oakwell.
“The cup run here was fantastic, Southend and then Barnsley,” he added. “We should’ve won at Barnsley, they were unbelievable days for everyone.”