BRAD JACKSON says high confidence levels among Chester’s attackers have been central to their early promotion-challenge.

The free-scoring Blues have netted 31 times already this season, the highest of any club in the country’s s top six divisions.

And Jackson, whose high-energy performances on the right wing have been consistently excellent this term, believes the Blues are much improved from last season.

“When I arrived last year we were really struggling for goals, especially with Akwasi (Asante) being out injured,” he said.

“It’s different this season. No matter who starts up front - whether it’s Akwasi, George (Waring), Matty (Hughes) we seem to be guaranteed goals in games.

“We’re going into every game now thinking we can get a result and I think you need that belief to do well in this league.”

With nine assists and two goals already this term, Jackson has proved integral to Chester’s ascent to second in the National League North standings.

The 23-year-old has thrived under the attack-minded philosophy of joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.

He added: “I really enjoy playing for them. There’s no messing around and they always say it like it is.

“I think as managers they’ve had some tough decisions to make this season and have had to leave some quality players out of the side at times.

“There are guys who aren’t getting as much game time as they’d like, but I think ultimately they understand that the team has generally done very well up to now.”

Recruited from Ashton United in December 2018, Jackson was initially utilised in an unfamiliar role.

His versatility saw him deployed at full-back, providing essential cover during an injury-hit period for the club.

The former Burnley academy graduate went on to make 21 appearances in the 2018/19 campaign as Chester ultimately finished three points adrift of the play-off places.

Since being restored to his favoured position on the wing, Jackson has since been a mainstay of Chester’s side - starting in all 11 of their league games to date.

His eye-catching performances are rumoured to have attracted interest from other clubs, but Jackson says he is focused solely on achieving success with Chester.

Asked to gauge his own performances so far, he said: “I’m happy with how the season has gone for me up to now.

"Playing as a winger I’m delighted to be able to have that many assists. I’d have liked a few more goals than the two I’ve got this season, but I’ll work on that.”

And as Chester step up preparations for Saturday’s top-of -the-table clash with York City, Jackson is adamant that a five-game winless run has not affected their mindset.

He said: “I don’t think we’ve had a bad game all season and we’re not letting the results of the last three league games get to us.

"These games we’ve drawn, it’s not like we’ve been hanging on for a point in them - we’ve been looking to win. I’m sure we’ll start converting these results into wins soon.”