It's approaching four weeks since Chester FC beat Gateshead 4-2 to draw the curtain on the 2015-16 season.
The Blues finished with a flourish, recording three straight victories to alleviate some of the gloom that had descended on the club during a difficult campaign but fans exited the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium that evening not knowing who would be manager nor which players would return for 2016-17.
Confirmation a week later that Jon McCarthy had been appointed on a permanent basis answered one of those questions and over the last fortnight the squad has begun to take shape too.
McCarthy has prioritised resolving the futures of those players whose contracts have ended over bringing in new faces. While that might not be the most exciting approach from the perspective of supporters, it is a sensible one. Chester are not equipped for bidding wars and McCarthy will take his time to ensure he gets the right players at the right price.
He revealed this week that he is close to deals with three more members of last season's team and that he had initiated contact with potential new signings.
With that in mind, The Chronicle takes a look at where the Blues are up to in preparation for 2016-17:
The Blues had four players already under contract for next season in keeper Jon Worsnop , midfielders Sam Hughes and Tom Shaw and winger Craig Mahon .
Financial backing from sponsors Swettenham Chemists has allowed the club to give professional deals to full-backs Keiran Evans and Matty Waters , two of the top performers for Calum McIntyre's youth team last term.
Ryan Astles was the first of those out of contract to commit his future to the club. The defender proved a valuable addition having been signed from Northwich Victoria mid-season and drew interest from National League rivals.
Central midfielder Luke George soon followed and admitted he had unfinished business after the ex-Southport man was restricted to 23 league appearances.
Kane Richards was next to sign on despite the ex-Ilkeston forward having appeared to be on borrowed time for most of the season. He tumbled down the pecking order but was recalled for the final few games and shone in a central role, impressing enough to earn a new deal.
James Alabi took the squad up to 10 this week when he signed a new contract after scoring six times in 16 games following his arrival in January.
To be resolved
Contract discussions are ongoing with other players and McCarthy hopes to be able to announce two or three more re-signings soon.
Full-backs Johnny Hunt and Ryan Higgins have been offered new deals but have not yet signed and the manager will want an answer sooner rather than later.
Hunt, who has played down talk of a move to Tranmere Rovers or Macclesfield Town, was among the more consistent performers last season and has suggested he's ready to pledge his future to the club.
Having been on the bright spots of 2014-15, Higgins suffered a dip in form last term, although positional and selection changes probably didn't help his cause. His future remains uncertain.
John Rooney can frustrate some fans but again proved his worth to the team, particularly towards the end of the campaign, and has stated he sees his future with the club. A deal is understood to be close and the paperwork should be finalised when the midfielder returns from holiday.
Jordan Chapell had an up-and-down first season but there were flashes of promise and as a former winger himself McCarthy should know how to get the best out of the ex-Torquay United man. Chapell's ability to play down either flank and further forward will appeal to the manager.
Tony Thompson ended the season as first-choice but with Jon Worsnop under contract, the goalkeeping situation still needs to be resolved. Thompson will understandably want to start the new campaign as number one but the club cannot realistically afford to keep both so if Worsnop remains with the club, Thompson might well depart.
Through the exit door
To date there has been only one departure, although it was a significant one with last season's top scorer Ross Hannah turning down a new deal in favour of a move to Barrow AFC .
Ben Heneghan has been offered a new deal but, while the club have not given up hope, the feeling is the England C defender will be heading off to new pastures. Football League clubs Chesterfield and Shreswbury Town have been mentioned as possible destinations with the Blues entitled to compensation as he's under 23-years-old.
There's been little word on the future of Craig Hobson suggesting the forward's time with the club could be coming to an end. He might well feel it's time to move on in search of more regular starts. While he can frustrate, Hobson has been a good servant to the club and scored some important goals.
There has been little said about potential new arrivals so far but expect that to change in the coming weeks once McCarthy has finalised his retention plans.
There's no lack of players to choose from given the depth of the retained lists published over the past few weeks, indeed there will be a further flood of talent from Football League clubs at the end of June when most full-time contracts expire.
McCarthy will be aiming to start the season with a squad of 18 senior professionals meaning he has, depending on what happens with those whose futures are still to be sorted out, about five or six spots to fill.
Two of those are almost certain to be strikers with the 45-year-old believing he needs four interchangeable forwards and the loss of Ross Hannah leaves him with room for manouvere.
The other area of the squad that will need some serious attention is the defence, especially if Heneghan's expected departure is confirmed. Both full-back positions have still to be resolved and a new central defender will be near the top of his shopping list.
McCarthy will also need to bring in a second goalkeeper should Thompson not sign a new deal. It would not be a surprise if the Blues were to utilise the loan marker as many other clubs in the National League have done over the past couple of seasons.
The one area of the squad that does not require much work is midfield where, should Rooney sign, there will be only minor work needed. The biggest challenge there will be striking the right balance, something that didn't happen last season to the team's cost.