RUNCORN Linnets' team-building plans for their first crack at North West Counties Division One have been dealt a blow.
Transfer target Carl Osman, younger brother of Everton's Leon, has plumped for Cammell Laird after being released by Skelmersdale United.
Linnets boss Steve Carragher - recovering from cruciate ligament surgery - had been tracking Osman.
But Runcorn secretary Tony Waddington said the midfielder had accepted a 'big offer' from Lairds.
Linnets have still to add to their squad since promotion but captures lined up include a striker formerly with Maccles-field Town and Colwyn Bay.
Linnets have applied for international clearance for a player who scored four goals in half an hour at club trials.
Meanwhile, Runcorn are poised to sign up their first contract players from the existing staff.
Waddington stressed: 'This is still at a very early stage with Steve (Carragher) having been on holiday and then having an operation.
'But players have asked us and we think one or two may be going on contract.
'They have had clubs after them but don't want to go. It would be security for them as well as us.'
Runcorn, who have called off the August 5 friendly at Rhyl, have been drawn at home to Division Two side Castleton Gabriels in the NWCL's Challenge Cup on Saturday, November 10 after getting a bye into the second round.
Linnets are expecting league fixtures to be out in early July but the timing depends on schedules higher up the pyramid being released.
However, Runcorn will again be away for their NWC opener on August 11 - landlords Witton Albion having a private function in their clubhouse that day.
Runcorn's first campaign home game will be on Tuesday, August 14.
Linnets are entered into the FA Vase for the first time and the draw for the extra-preliminary round on Saturday, August 18 is on Monday, July 2.
Runcorn's improved league status could yet see them exempt from that stage.
Season tickets are on sale at £80 (adults) and £32 (concessions) and can be bought at www.runcornlinnetsfc.co.uk
The price is a slight increase on last season but there are more home games and turn-stile prices are unchanged.
The Under 4s and Young Linnets under 13 qualify for free season tickets.
Vice-chairman Hedley Edwards is taking orders for replica shirts, including the blue-and-white-quartered away jers e y.
The yellow and green home version sees only cosmetic changes - the inaugural season wording is lost, the club badge is now embroidered and sponsors GMS's logo has been modified.
* Linnets' Tote jackpot is likely to hit £400 this week after numbers 45 and 43 failed to produce a winner on Saturday.