Thursday, 24 September 2009

Prepare For A Test

I can’t help fearing Sunday’s game. Maybe it’s a fatalism born from realism: I’ve suffered so many disappointments and false dawns over the last few years that I expect to be let down by Wrexham.

It’s a shame, because I really want to be carried away by Tuesday. In fact, for twenty-four hours or so I was. We absolutely hammered the side the media have assured us is much too good for The Conference to the extent that Chris Maxwell didn’t have a save to make in the entire match! It was terrific! We looked balanced, competitive, dangerous. How could a struggling side like Chester be expected to deal with us in that sort of mood?

But that’s where reality started to kick in for me. A big part of the reason why we were all so delighted by Tuesday’s performance is that it came so completely out of the blue. We’d looked poor for the previous month, and hadn’t approached the form we showed pre-season since things got serious, so it was understandable that we got carried away.

Anyway, it was just one game; when did we last follow up a good performance with another? And who knows if Dean Saunders will decide to stick with the same line-up or rotate again on Sunday?

Also, anyone who thinks Chester will be pushovers are kidding themselves. We all know the cliché: no derby is easy. However, the thought that poor old City, marooned at the bottom of the table, aren’t competitive is a false one. Before Tuesday they had earned nine points, just one less than us. Not much of a gulf there then! And anyway, even if they can’t save themselves from relegation against impossible odds, they can surely raise themselves for their two derbies, scrap like hell, and give their fans something to sing about for years to come?

It all reminds me of that season in the 1990s when Chester were cut adrift at the bottom of League One while we were riding high. When the derbies came around city’s fate seemed sealed...but they still emerged with two draws from the games, which punctured Wrexham’s play-off hopes and gave Chester’s fans bragging rights even though their weak side sank pathetically into League Two. The second match, when we threw away a lead against a side that had been reduced to nine men, was particularly awful.

There’s no way Chester are going to be lambs to the slaughter, but we did perform in a manner which most Conference sides wouldn’t be able to live with on Tuesday. Fasten your seatbelts on Sunday. It’s going to be a hell of a ride!

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