ANTHONY JOHNSON has spoken of his pride of how Chester have coped admirably during these troubled times.

Tuesday’s 2-1 win at home to Curzon Ashton pushed The Blues back up to second spot and giving them real momentum heading into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at leaders, Gloucester City.

“As a football club over the last six months I can’t tell you how proud I’ve been to be part of it, with what the board have done and the non-stop grating, and yet we still get heckled about what the board are doing and about what the managers are doing,” said joint-boss Johnson.

“The groundsman is here 24 hours a day, because you’ve got the community trust playing on it, the kids train on it on a Wednesday night and we train on it, and the pitch still looks like Wembley.

“We’ve got a kitman, we’ve played seven games in three weeks. Everyone is grafting and we will make mistakes, things will go wrong, but people need to get behind us. You might have rubbish managers, but we’ve got a top side here and as long as we all stay with it, I think we’ll have a great season.”

The victory over Curzon stopped a mini-rot setting in after The Blues were dumped out of the FA Cup by former boss Neil Young’s Marine as well as losing their unbeaten league record at Spennymoor.

Goalkeeper Louis Gray is happy the Blues returned to winning ways after some tough-talking in the dressing room.

“It was unacceptable from us all really,” Gray told the club website after last Saturday’s shock FA Cup exit. “We had a long chat after the game with the gaffers. Something went wrong and it needs to be fixed.

“It was an absolute killer. We haven’t kept a clean sheet yet. Who do you look to for that – is it me – is it the defence?

“But to be fair, they had one shot on target from the spot and won the game 1-0.

“The main thing is about drawing a line through Saturday and getting our minds right. It’s down to us this season for 90 minutes on a Saturday or a Tuesday to perform.”

One of Gray’s main tasks tomorrow will be keeping out Gloucester’s former Chester fans’ favourite Akwasi Asante (pictured left),

Asante’s move shocked many but the Dutch striker said his mind was made up once he knew James Rowe was the boss at New Meadow Park

“I’ve known him for 10 years, he coached me as a 17-year-old at Birmingham City,” said Asante, who scored 22 goals for The Blues, at the time of his move.

“James has always stayed in touch with me over the years and kept an eye on my career.

“He’s tried to sign me over the years when he was at Aldershot as assistant but we never managed to sort it out and I now feel like the time is right.

“I had a few offers from other clubs and some even offering better wages but I like the ambition and the project at Gloucester City and I want to be a part of that with James Rowe.”

AFC Fylde’s 3-2 home win over Kettering Town on Wednesday night lifted them above Chester and into second place in the league table.

Tomorrow’s other fixtures: Fylde v Farsley; AFC Telford v Alfreton; Bradford PA v Chorley; Curzon Ashton v Darlington; Guiseley v Brackley; Kidderminster v Blyth; Southport v Boston; Spennymoor v Hereford.