THE arrival of new Chester City owner Stephen Vaughan has sparked a flurry of activity in the transfer market with at least two players signed in time for tomorrow's Conference clash with Margate at the Deva Stadium.
Former Tranmere midfielder Brett Baxter has been recruited from Accrington, along with another midfield player Mick O'Brien, who has been with Everton and Torquay.
And far from feeling under threat on the back of five successive defeats, director of football Gordon Hill is relishing the chance to continue team building plans.
He has also made moves to sign Barnet's Liverpool-born midfielder John Doolan and Walsall's former Everton and Sunderland striker Brett Angell as he contemplates going into tomorrow's match with a squad ravaged by injuries and suspensions.
'It is like starting afresh having the new owner here,' admitted Hill. 'I have been wanting to sign players for some time, but my hands were tied. Now I have been given the go-ahead to strengthen the squad.
'Stephen Vaughan and I have the same ideals. We both want Chester back in the Football League, but we need new players and you don't get good players cheap.'
Vaughan confirmed yesterday that Hill's future at the club was assured, although not necessarily in his present post. 'Whatever else happens Gordon is going to be part of the furniture.'
Vaughan signed in last Friday having paid what he described as 'a substantial' sum for Terry Smith's 98% shareholding in the club, believed to be around £400,000.
He and his business associate Lee Maloney are looking into the compensation claim by former manager Kevin Ratcliffe, while the club's appeal against a decision by an employment tribunal in favour of former chief executive Bill Wingrove, was dismissed in London yesterday.
The original verdict that Wingrove was unfairly dismissed was upheld and the club was in beach of contract.
Said Vaughan, who tried to buy Chester City five years ago: 'It is a massive job, but we believe we have the ability to do it. We are going to try to repair the damage which has been done.
'I definitely want to be in a mid-table position at least by Christmas. I would like to see the people back on the terraces and getting behind the team.'
He revealed that a chief executive would be brought in soon and the club would advertise for a commercial manager.
The new owner would have expected a dramatic increase in the attendance at tomorrow's home game against Margate, but with the match clashing with the televised England v Greece game this may be unrealistic.
The kick-off remains at 3pm, despite an offer by Chester to pay for Margate's overnight expenses to be able to bring the game forward to 12.30pm.
Almost certainly out of tomorrow's game are injured Chris Malkin (calf), Carl Ruffer (knee), Dean Spink (ankle) and Chris Blackburn (hamstring), as well as suspended Sam Hill and David Kerr.
Accompanied children under 16 will be admitted free tomorrow. Carlos Lopez, who has been on trial from Mexico, has been released.
Chester are at home to Hereford in the Conference next Tuesday (7.45).
* Nationwide Variety Club Trophy holders Chester will meet Conference champions Rushden and Diamonds at Nene Park on Tuesday, November 13 in the Nationwide Championship Shield (7.45).
* Chester drew 0-0 with Altrincham in a reserve match on Wednesday.
* A planned fans' meeting on Monday and a protest at FA headquarters in London on October 13 have been cancelled.
* Ray Gill, who played for Chester between 1951 and 1961 and made a record 406 league appearances for the club, has died aged 76.