WHILE Jim Harvey has identified the key areas Chester City desperately need to improve if they are to stand any chance of escaping relegation, the new Blues boss reckons he has the makings of a midfield that can be as good as any in the Blue Square Premier.
The Irishman was last night trying to ease his defensive crisis and City’s chronic lack of width by closing deals for a trio of loan signings.
If Harvey gets his men, expect a much-changed Chester to take to the field at Gateshead on Saturday.
But three players almost certain to start the clash with the promoted Tynesiders are Anthony Barry, Clark Keltie and Mark Beesley.
Barry and Keltie have played most of their career at a higher level than which they are currently operating, and they were two of the Blues’ most impressive performers in Saturday’s home loss to Rushden & Diamonds, a game which marked Harvey’s first in charge.
The midfielders were edged out in the man-of-the-match honours by Beesley, though.
The 28-year-old has returned to City on a month’s loan from league rivals Cambridge United and his ‘debut’ display showed why The U’s have stated they have no intention of letting him leave the Abbey Stadium on a permanent basis.
Operating in the ‘hole’ behind Gregg Blundell, Beesley offered some much-needed spark to a side that has struggled to create clear-cut goalscoring chances all season.
Harvey said: “The three in midfield, in particular, looked very good and I’ve got no doubts they can compete against anybody at this level.
“They offer good possession and good movement, but now we need other people to join in with them.”
With top-scorer Nick Chadwick suspended after he was controversially sent-off against Rushden along with Glenn Rule, Harvey is likely to stick with the Beesley-Blundell partnership for the trip to Gateshead.
Veteran Blundell made some excellent runs on Saturday but it was clear he is still short of full match sharpness following a long injury lay-off.
Harvey said: “He’s up and he’s playing and he’s fit but obviously he’s not as sharp as he would like because he’s been out for eight months and it takes a little while to get back into things.
“But the only way he is going to get where he wants is by training and working hard.”