Jon McCarthy says he is working hard to bring ‘exciting’ signings to Chester FC this summer.
Having watched his side limp over the line in the Vanarama National League this season, losing the final six games to end up finishing two points above the drop zone in 19th, the Chester manager is keen to add more quality to his team this time around.
McCarthy has had more time to prepare than 12 months ago and has already signed up 10 senior players from last season and added strikers Harry White and Nyal Bell to his ranks.
He released six players, including Elliott Durrell, Kane Richards and Johnny Hunt, and is now chasing several targets to try and put together a side capable of competing in what is set to be a tough National League next season.
“We’re not limiting ourselves in terms of the calibre of players we are wanting to get in and we will try and be a little ambitious with some,” said the Blues boss.
“We don’t have the financial muscle to compete with some but we do have the history of this club, its size, the stadium and the fan base, all of which are things that do work in our favour.
“We have a few offers out to some players and it is a case of playing the waiting game now as good players attract interest from plenty of clubs. We’ve already lost out on one or two targets we had in mind.”
One player who Chester had been hopeful of signing was recently released Barrow defender Danny Livesey.
But the 32-year-old has opted to join his home-town club Salford City in the National League North, a side with considerable financial backing.
But McCarthy has a long list of targets and is hopeful of getting some positive business done this summer.
“We are looking at some players who would be exciting for the fans,” said McCarthy.
“But I need to find a balance to the side and ensure that I have enough quality in the right areas for the whole season. We saw how tough it can be when you have a threadbare squad with how last season finished.
“But we had enough points early enough to mean I could contact some targets early and find out the situation of a few players and also get the lads we wanted to keep hold of signed on new deals.
“It is a competitive market we are in but we will try and do our best to get the very best players we can into the football club.
With Blaine Hudson, Johnny Hunt and Ross Killock released, Sam Hughes set to leave for a Football League side and Theo Vassell having come to the end of his loan spell, McCarthy knows that strengthening his defence is of paramount importance.
An experienced striker is also high on the agenda as is more quality in the centre of midfield with Tom Shaw set to play a lesser role next season owing to his duties as player/assistant manager.
“I’m in a better position than last year as I have more pieces of the jigsaw in place and we are working towards having a bit more in the budget,” said McCarthy.
“We spoken to players who we would like to bring to the club and had some positive discussions, but these things can take a bit of time.”