The loan market has been a useful talent source for Chester FC over the past few seasons but 2015-16 was a reminder that success cannot be guaranteed.
Whereas Oli McBurnie, Matty Taylor, Rhys Oates, Matty Hughes, Ross Killock, Brad Abbott and Lewis and Nathan Turner have demonstrated the worth of tapping into other clubs' resources, others have made less memorable contributions.
No fewer than 11 loanees spent time with the Blues over the course of the previous campaign but most did not make the impact hoped for, although that isn't necessarily a slight on the ability of the player as circumstance, lack of opportunities and other factors can have a bearing.
For clubs like Chester, loans remain an important means of improving the squad while working to a budget and Jon McCarthy will no doubt be hoping to pull a short-term gem or two out of the bag.
The Chronicle considers whether the club should considered bringing some of last season's 11 loanees back to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium next term:
Bring them back
There's little question Ryan Lloyd was the pick of the loan signings made during 2015-16. The midfielder performed well in a wide role but came into his own when moved into the middle of the park, making 26 appearances in total. The 22-year-old has been offered a new deal at Vale Park but with the Valiants seeking a new boss after Rob Page moved to Northampton his future remains uncertain. McCarthy would welcome him back with open arms but much will depend on whether Page's replacement sees Lloyd as part of his plans.
Oxford United forward James Roberts scored once in six appearances but his pace, direct running and movement caught the eye. Roberts' spell with the Blues coincided with the tragic loss of his 16-year-old brother in a road accident and he struggled with hamstring problems, but his ability was clear to see. He later had a stint on loan at Barnet before returning to Oxford to help them gain promotion to League One. Could he still be on Chester's radar?
Alex Whitmore impressed in the five matches he featured in while on loan from Burnley but the defender turned down the chance of extending his spell with the Blues in favour of a move back to his native north east with divisional rivals Gateshead. That didn't go down too well with supporters but Whitmore showed himself to be a solid and composed defender, something the Blues will need should Ben Heneghan's expected departure be confirmed.
Wigan Athletic winger Danny O'Brien scored once in nine appearances and produced a handful of eye-catching performances. He was perhaps unfortunate to lose his place in the team when it was felt more experience was needed for the battle against relegation. His future with the Latics, who have gained promotion to the Championship, will become clearer in the coming weeks but it wouldn't be a huge surprise if the Blues made another move for O'Brien given he would probably relish the 4-4-2 formation McCarthy plans to employ.
Blues fans got a fleeting glimpse of Nyal Bell in his loan spell from Rochdale, making four appearances and scoring twice in the Cheshire Senior Cup. The forward might have been raw but he had potential, quick, powerful and with an eye for goal. Bell left Spotland this month and as a free agent Chester could offer him a chance to stake his claim for a permanent contract in pre-season.
Everton forward Calum Dyson failed to find the net in his four games but showed some promise. He didn't quite have the physicality to lead the line in the National League but that should change as he develops. Dyson's signed a two-year deal with Everton in 2014 so the Toffees must now decide whether he has done enough to earn a new deal. He's well regarded at Goodison Park and if he's matured physically he would be worth another look.
Jason Gilchrist made three substitute appearances while on loan from Burnley, scoring once in the FA Trophy against Hungerford Town. He returned to Turf Moor after damaging his ankle in training but made a good impression during his time with the Blues, showing a lethal touch in front of goal during training. Burnley released Gilchrist this month and given his style of play is similar to Ross Hannah, might he be an affordable option to provide competition for places up front.
Unlikely to return
Danny Hattersley contributed well during his spell on loan from FC Halifax Town but was allowed to leave after being unable to register a goal in eight games. Ultimately strikers are judged on goals, but the consensus was that Hattersley's work-rate and strength up top had made a positive difference to the team. Following Halifax's relegation, it remains to be seen whether the big forward has a future at The Shay but Chester will probably feel there are younger and more promising options available.
Josh O'Hanlon came with a good pedigree when he arrived from Premier League side Bournemouth but didn't quite live up to his billing. The Irish forward was thrown straight into the deep end against Forest Green Rovers and was sent back to the Cherries after one more appearance. He ended the season in impressive form on loan with his former club Longford Town and has still has a season to run on his contract with Bournemouth. Chester might not have seen O'Hanlon at his best but he's unlikely to return.
Brought in from Sheffield United, Jamie McDonagh featured once as a substitute in the defeat at Forest Green. He then linked up with Northern Ireland under-21s for an international fixture and that was the end of his Chester career. It was a strange ending and McDonagh has since been released from Bramall Lane. It's unclear where his future lies but it probably won't be with the Blues.
The signing of Ben Barber confused supporters as the left-back failed to make an appearance after arriving from Stoke City. In fairness, the arrangement was a case of giving the Blues the chance to have a closer look at a prospect who had been told his contract was not going to be renewed and giving the player a chance to earn himself something for next season. That didn't transpire but Barber signed a two-year deal at York City this week so he's not coming back to Chester anytime soon.
POLL: Which of last season's loanees would you like to see return?