Chester FC boss Jon McCarthy is hopeful there will be more re-signings in the coming days after Luke George and Kane Richards committed their futures to the club.
The week began on a disappointing note when star striker Ross Hannah opted against signing a new deal and instead penned a two-year contract with National League rivals Barrow AFC.
McCarthy told The Chronicle he had started work on bringing in new faces too but his immediate focus was on assembling the nucleus of next season’s team from the current squad.
“We’ve looked at the group, not blindly, and for various reasons there’s some potential there that didn’t quite come out last season and it’s about us recognising the players who we think we can improve and get more out of next season,” McCarthy said.
“Luke and Kane both fall into that bracket and I think we’re getting up to that core for next season and I’d hope we will be able to announce a couple more very soon.”
George, 23, arrived from Southport last summer but was restricted to 23 league appearances as first a pulled thigh and then a hamstring tear hampered his contribution.
Richards, who has been at Chester since signing from Ilkeston in December 2014, found himself frozen out for part of the season and was sent out on loan to Gainsborough Trinity, but the 21-year-old came in from the cold to star in the final three games of the season, scoring in the wins against Welling United and Gateshead.
McCarthy said: “I think people saw what Kane was all about at the end of the season with his performances and the standing ovations. He’s had a taste of that and he wants more. He’s a good lad and there’s a lot of potential there with Kane.
“Luke had a frustrating season with injuries but I think people might have forgot how important he was for us at the start of the season and how well he was playing.
“He had never really had an injury before coming to us and I think that might have been part of the problem because he came back to soon, but that’s the kind of lad he is.
“Towards the end of the season he was playing through a lot of pain when he shouldn’t really have been on the pitch and that tells you a lot about him.
“He’s a leader and he’s a very strong character and I think he’s going to prove himself to be a really important signing for us next season.”