JOEL TAYLOR believes Chester have all the ingredients to challenge for the National League North title this season.

The former Stoke City man has excelled at left-back this season for the Blues, whose seven-game unbeaten streak was ended at Spennymoor Town on Saturday.

Allied with their potent attacking options, Chester's miserly defence has shipped just seven times so far this term.

And 23-year-old Taylor, who made a summer switch from league rivals Kidderminster Harriers, believes Chester's collective qualities marks them out as serious contenders.

He said: "We're solid at the back, and going forward we've got so much strength up there too.

"A lot of people talk about how good we are in attack, but there's so much experience in defence and midfield too.

"Our back four seems to have a really good understanding. From a personal point of view, playing alongside Grandy (Simon Grand), Danny Livesey and Robbo (Kevin Roberts) has helped me massively.

"Physically and mentally they help me stay on top of my game and its felt great to play alongside them and Russ Griffiths at the back.

"It's early days, but we're up there competing near the top right now and, with the qualities we've got here, I think we're strong enough not just to challenge for promotion but to win the league."

Taylor was named in the division's 'Team of the Week' following his man-of-the-match display in the 4-0 demolition of Hereford.

His buccaneering runs from full-back terrorised the visitors' defence, who struggled to cope with his pace and direct attacking style.

Previously utilised as a left-sided midfielder in his time with Stoke's U23 side, Taylor admits that supporting the Blues forwards is as central to his game as defending.

He added: "I've always had that attacking mindset.

"I love getting forward and do it as much as I can during games. Obviously I have to take care of my defensive duties as well so it's about getting the balance right.

"The managers have been great with me since I've come into the club and really encouraged me to get myself forward and create something.

"I'm really enjoying my time at Chester and right now there's a real buzz around the place."

Monday night's game at Curzon Ashton will be Chester's ninth of a hectic opening month.

And while Taylor feels the Blues will now benefit from a less congested fixture list, he has relished the intensity of playing twice weekly.

He said: "Everyone's been putting in a shift every game and we've got our rewards so far.

"It has been intense in this first month but I've thoroughly enjoyed it and I feel like we've got better with each game recently.

"Going back to Saturday-to-Saturday games will give us a bit of breathing space though and I'm sure it will only help us train better and develop more as a squad.”