JAY Harris and David Mannix could play for Chester City in Saturday’s derby with Macclesfield Town – despite being at the centre of a betting scandal.
The City midfielders are facing serious sanctions after being charged by the FA for breaching betting rules.
Harris, 22 on Wednesday, and Mannix, 23, are accused of gambling thousands of pounds on Accrington Stanley to lose while they were with the Lancashire club last year.
The duo, signed by Chester on free transfers from Stanley last June, have until April 23 to respond to the charges, but until that time the Blues are vowing to stick by them.
Chester owner Stephen Vaughan said: “We can’t comment on the case other than we know that the main offences were allegedly carried out while they were at another club. There is another allegation against Harris relating to when he was at our club, but, again, we cannot comment at this stage.
“But what I would say is that there is no reason why these lads cannot be involved in Chester City’s plans for this weekend.
“We’ll support them in any way we can, as we would do with any other member of the squad.”
While Vaughan has given his blessing for the pair to continue playing for the Blues while the charges hang over them, manager Mark Wright is keeping tight-lipped on the matter.
When asked yesterday whether the pair would be involved against Macclesfield, he said: “No comment.”
Harris and Mannix were among a group of five players charged for breaching betting rules this week, the others being Accrington’s Robbie Williams and Peter Cavanagh and former Bury striker Andrew Mangan, now of Forest Green. The majority of the charges relate to bets placed on an end-of-season League Two game between Accrington and Bury on May 3, 2008. Of the five, Harris and Cavanagh played in the match.
FA rules prohibit players from betting on their own games.
An FA statement read: “All five are alleged to have placed bets on Bury to win this match. Mannix is alleged to have placed stakes to the value of approximately £4,000; Mangan £3,500; Harris £2,000; Williams £1,000; and Cavanagh on a £5 accumulator.
“In addition, Harris, now registered with Chester City, has been charged in relation to betting on a game involving his new club and another two League Two fixtures.”
Vaughan, meanwhile, has revealed Gary Metcalf’s deal to take over the Blues is nearing completion.
Vaughan, who will meet the Liverpool-based property developer today, said: “He’s carrying out the final stages of a due diligence exercise and as soon as it is completed we will make an announcement.”