CHESTER City's under-achievers have been given an ultimatum by new owner Stephen Vaughan buck up or go!
The Merseyside businessman gave the squad a pep talk on Monday after City had lost their fourth match in a row at Dover in a Conference basement battle.
And the players have been left in no doubt that he will carry out his threat unless results start to improve, starting with tomorrow's game at Woking.
'We shouldn't be losing to part-timers,' he said. 'We knew it would be a hard slog to get out of trouble, but we are not doing ourselves any favours by lying down.
'Three years ago it would have been unheard of for Chester City to be losing to some of the teams that we have played this season.
'I said some home truths on Monday and I expect a positive response or some players will be off-loaded.'
And manager Steve Mungall admitted he wasn't excluded from the chairman's demand for an improvement. 'He threw down the gauntlet to everyone, me included, and since then we have had a good week training.
'There is a probably a mixture of some players under-achieving and some not being good enough, although there is a fine line between winning and losing.
'We didn't play badly at Dover, in fact the passing was as good as I have seen since I have been at Chester, but the final ball was poor. We just have to start killing teams off.'
Mungall's cause hasn't been helped by being unable to field his strongest team. And he has more problems tomorrow with Carl Ruffer (knee) and Chris O'Brien (flu) likely to be absent at Woking.
But top scorer Mark Beesley and midfielder Chris Blackburn are back after suspension, and Paul Carden definitely starts for the first time since his return to the Deva from Doncaster.
Goalkeeper Wayne Brown is to have a spell training with Tranmere Rovers, where he will receive specialised coaching alongside Tranmere's two keepers John Achterburg and Joe Murphy.
'Wayne hasn't been happy with his form and he will benefit from going to Tranmere,' said Mungall. 'I suppose that will give Tranmere the chance to have a good look at him, but we want him to stay with us. He is a big part of our plans.'
* Stephen Vaughan met FA and Football League representatives yesterday to discuss matters inherited from the previous regime, and then he had a meeting with representatives from Chester City Council to talk about his plans for the club.
His busy day ended by meeting members of the Chester City Supporters Trust to talk about the availability of shares.
* The supporters' coach to Woking has been cancelled because of insufficient numbers.
* Chester have switched the kick-off time for the New Year's Day match against Northwich Vics from 3pm to 1pm on police advice.