BERNARD MORLEY believes the Christmas fixture list will ‘make or break’ Chester’s season.

With the Blues lying third in the National League North standings, they will hope to reduce the 10-point gap between themselves and pacesetters King’s Lynn Town over the next fortnight.

Joint-manager Morley has accentuated the importance of the forthcoming games and challenged his side to replicate their impressive early-season form.

He told reporters after the Hednesford game: “We’re going into the Christmas period with a 19-man squad and we’re at that point where it will make or break our season.

“On paper we’ve got two tough games against Southport, Telford, Curzon Ashton and Guiseley away. We’ve got to believe that we can find that early-season form when we were blowing sides away.”

Chester laboured in the second half of their 2-1 FA Trophy victory over Hednesford Town in midweek, doing just enough to see off their lower league opponents.

Morley pointed to complacency among his players and says they must ‘right some wrongs’ in Saturday’s home clash with Telford United who were routed at home by Leamington in midweek

“We can’t afford to apply ourselves in the way we did in the second half against Hednesford,” he added.

“It’s a Telford side who were beaten 5-0 at home to Leamington, but we won’t read anything into that.They’ll want a reaction.

“They watched us on Saturday, but we’ve just got to make sure we put a few wrongs right from what we saw on Tuesday night.

“In terms of training, the work ethic and the workrate from the players is brilliant.

“I just think Hednesford was one of those games where we’ve gone in two-nil up at half-time and we’ve put the handbrake on.

“Before we knew it we started to look a bit desperate on the break and started forcing things.

“We’ve seen little glimpses of that this season, but we’ve also seen this side turn teams inside out when they counter the way they do.”

Telford boss Gavin Cowan has apologised to supporters for his side’s heavy home defeat in midweek, branding it ‘embarrassing’.

Speaking to the Shropshire Star, he said: “It was extremely poor, a result I didn’t see coming.

“It’s not good enough and not acceptable and we got our just desserts.”

Cowans’ side are struggling in the bottom half of the table and have failed to replicate the form that saw them challenge for a play-off spot last term.

“We’re 17th in the league and out the cups, there should be pressure coming along. I’m fully ready for that,” he added.

“Last year I was Pep Guardiola, this year I’m Peperami. That’s football, but it can change very quickly.”

King’s Lynn are in action at Gloucester City tomorrow while title rivals York City host Darlington.

Other fixtures: Alfreton Town v Kettering Town; Altrincham v Kidderminster harriers; Blyth Spartans v Southport; Boston Utd v Gateshead; Brackley Town v Curzon Ashton; Farsley Celtic v Leamington; Hereford v Guiseley; Spennymoor Town v Bradford Park Avenue.