James set for Shay return
Kingsley James knows a thing or two about fighting relegation from the National League.
The midfielder was part of the FC Halifax Town squad that dropped down from the fifth tier in 2016 shortly before they won the FA Trophy at Wembley.
He made 57 appearances in all competitions for Halifax that season, scoring 11 goals, before moving on to Macclesfield.
Now he finds himself embroiled in another battle against the drop with Chester, who occupy the last relegation spot in the division, sitting three points below Leyton Orient but with a game in hand.
Chester won only once in their first 11 games, and have never gone more than three matches without a defeat all season.
But James sees reasons to be positive, not least the fact that Chester go into Saturday’s game against Halifax at the Shay on the back of two consecutive wins for the first time in just over a year, having beaten Solihull Moors in the league and Fylde in the FA Trophy.
“It wasn’t a great start but I don’t think we’re in the predicament we’re in because of performances,” he said.
“We are where we are but we’re better than what we’ve shown in terms of our league standing.
“We’ve got a good group that can get results.
“We’ve been in a lot of games where we should have gone on and won. It’s been similar to how it was at Halifax when I was there.
“It’s difficult when you’re struggling because confidence can be low.
“But we’ve won our last two games, and I wouldn’t say confidence is particularly low.
“We’ve got good players coming back into the team, and there’s no reason why we should be lacking in confidence.
“We’ll go into the game with a positive mindset looking for the three points.”
No other Chester player has started more games than James this term, and the midfielder is satisfied with his form, but not with his goal tally of one solitary strike in a 2-1 win at Aldershot back in August.
“I’ve played every game this season, and personally I think I’ve done alright,” he said.
“I think I can add more goals to my game but I’ve played in a couple of different positions in the team.”
Former Solihull and Grimsby boss Marcus Bignot was appointed as successor to Jon McCarthy in September, with James no stranger to the upheaval a change of manager mid-season can bring.
“It’s a different situation to what it was at Halifax,” he said.
“The manager (Darren Kelly) that came in at Halifax didn’t really have, without being disrespectful, a positive impact on the team.
“Then Jimmy (Harvey) took over and the impact was immediate and there was a lot of positivity from that.
“That’s more similar to how it’s been at Chester, although the results haven’t shown that.
“But the impact it’s had has been positive and we’re trying everything we can to get out of the situation we’re in.”
When asked if he was confident Chester could avoid the drop, James replied: “Absolutely. The group we’ve got is more than capable of that.”