ANTHONY JOHNSON hopes that Chester have unearthed a gem in their latest trialist striker.

The Blues have offered Rhys Oates a chance to impress in pre-season and the 24-year-old has seized his opportunity.

After making his first appearance for the club in the heavy home defeat to Wigan, Oates then fired a hat-trick in the 9-1 rout of Newquay on Tuesday evening.

The forward, who plays for Isle of Man side Peel FC and won the 2018/19 Rose Bowl Player of the Year award, was spotted by Blues joint-manager Johnson at the recent Inter Games tournament on Anglesey.

Not to be confused with the Morecambe striker of the same name who was on loan at Chester in 2014, Oates netted 38 times for Peel last term.

Johnson said: “I watched him at the Island Games when he played in a game against Guernsey and he lit it up.

“I was really impressed with him and got talking to him afterwards and offered him the chance to come and train with us.

“He’s a raw talent and we’ve been really pleased with his attitude and workrate in training.

“There’s a really strong work ethic there and he’s bought into the sessions we’ve had down here in Cornwall really well.

“The lad’s paid his own travel costs to come and train with us and hopefully it’s been a really positive experience for him.

“For me it just shows that it’s always worth taking at look at players at non-league levels because there is definitely talent out there.

“We’ve taken a chance on him and we’ll look to make a decision on him in the next week or so.”

Upon completion of Chester’s training camp in Newquay, Oates will travel back with the squad ahead of Friday's friendly clash with Dulwich Hamlet at the Deva.

Johnson hailed the success of the five-day trip and believes his players showed their ruthlessness in their demolition of hosts Newquay.

He added: “It’s been a brilliant week down here.

“The weather’s been fantastic and when it’s like this you really don’t have to have overseas training sessions like most Football League sides do.

“The pitch down here isn’t the greatest, but the facilities are excellent and the players have been pushed with big workloads all week.

“The gulf in class between ourselves and Wigan was obvious and they showed how ruthless they could be.

"We had to show our quality against Newquay and we did that with a ruthless performance of our own.

“The Dulwich game will be an interesting one against a side at our level in the Conference South.

“It’ll be a good test for us and with all the travelling we’ll have done earlier in the day it’ll be like an away game for us.

“But we’re coming home happy with the work we’ve put in to these sessions and hopefully those fitness and match sharpness levels will keep building now.”