NEW Chester City manager Mick Wadsworth has hit the ground running.
He has solved his goalkeeping problem and made the first signing of his reign – with three more to follow tomorrow.
The 58-year-old yesterday convinced out-of-contract number one John Danby to commit his future to the club and agreed a deal for defender Neil Ashton following his release from Shrewsbury Town.
Danby has put pen to paper on a two-year contract while Ashton will be signed up by the time the Blues return to pre-season training next week.
And Wadsworth, who was ushered into the Deva Stadium hotseat on Monday, says City supporters can expect more new faces before the week is out.
“John staying and Neil signing is great news for the club,” said the vastly-experienced Wads- worth, who worked with Ashton when he was number two to Gary Peters at Shrewsbury.
“John staying is as good as news as I could have asked for in my first week. We didn’t have a goalkeeper on the books but, more importantly, we’ve now got a top-class goalkeeper and a good character.
“I know Neil really well and he’s played in big games like play-off semi-finals and finals. He’s versatile, he can play left-back, left-midfield, centre of middle and even centre-back. I’m really pleased we’ve got him.”
Liverpudlian Ashton, 24, started his career at Tranmere Rovers before joining the Shrews, for whom he made 154 appearances before he was surprisingly shown the door following their League Two play-off final defeat in May.
Danby needs less introduction. The 25-year-old broke a Chester club record when he made his 128th consecutive league start in the trip to Barnet in March.
With his keeping conundrum now cleared up, Wadsworth is setting his sights on at least one experienced centre-forward. But the players who are expected to sign on tomorrow will be defenders and midfielders.
“I’ll keep quiet on them for now as I’m still finalising the details,” said Wadsworth, who revealed young defender Shaun Kelly is set for a month on the sidelines after he underwent a hernia operation. “But what I can say is that they are a couple of left-sided players, who can play left-back and left-wing, and a right-sided midfield player. I’m hoping to name them on Friday.”
Wadsworth has been given the licence to bring in his own backroom staff. But he has no immediate plans to do that and he is looking forward to working with youth team coach and former Blues boss Simon Davies.
“Simon is a bright young coach who is taking all his badges and who will soon be more qualified than I am,” said Wadsworth, who moved the start of pre-season training back to Monday from yesterday. “That’s how it should be and I’m really looking forward to working with him and helping him fulfil his potential, along with the rest of the staff.”
Wadsworth’s first game in charge of City will be the newly-arranged home friendly against a Liverpool XI on Tuesday, July 21. The trip to Nantwich Town on the same night has been postponed.