While Chester FC supporters may be waiting patiently for more arrivals, plenty has been going on elsewhere in the Vanarama National League.

But we'll kick-start this week's Conference Call with news of the appointment of a manager who will be well known to local football fans.

Hartlepool United

Craig Harrison, boss of Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints, is the new manager of Hartlepool.

Chester-based Harrison, who was born in the North East, has led the Saints to six successive domestic titles after starting his managerial career at Airbus UK Broughton .

The 39-year-old former Middlesbrough defender will now be tasked with the responsibility of guiding the relegated Pools back to the Football League at the first attempt.

Barrow boss Paul Cox
Barrow boss Paul Cox has been priced out of the Hartlepool United job

Earlier in the week Hartlepool had been given permission to speak to Paul Cox of Barrow AFC, more of whom in a minute.

But Pools, who have sold one-time Chester City loanee Lewis Alessansdra to Notts County, are said to have been put off by the five-figure fee they would have had to pay Barrow to settle the final two years on Cox's contract.

Barrow AFC

Cox has certainly been going on about his business as usual.

This week he signed - yet another - striker: Jordan White following his release from Wrexham, who we'll come to shortly.

Chester -based White was the Dragons' top-scorer in the league this season despite being sidelined for the first three-and-a-half months of the campaign due to a blood infection.

Jordan White gestures to the Wrexham fans after scoring his second in their 3-1 win over York City at Bootham Crescent
Jordan White gestures to the Wrexham fans after scoring his second in their 3-1 win over York City at Bootham Crescent

And Cox said: "When we look at what we've got, his movement in and around the box, and his ability to be a natural goalscorer, are what we first saw in him.

"Saying that, if you look at his goals montage, he scores every kind of goal you can think of - long range, headers, everything.

"When we lost Byron Harrison last year, we lost the use of somebody who can retain the ball in good areas and be articulate in terms of bringing people into play and setting up a phase of play for us.

"These are all skills Jordan has. He's not just a goal-scorer, he's a very intelligent footballer as well."

Ross Hannah
Ross Hannah during his Chester FC days

Reading those quotes, it begs the question: What's going to happen to Ross Hannah?

If Hannah was allowed to leave Barrow, no doubt there would be a queue of clubs interested; Chester, you imagine, being one, given his performances during his one season at the club.

But the 31-year-old has a year left on his Holker Street deal and prizing him away may not be easy.


I said we'd get to this lot.

The Dragons have signed James Jennings on a two-year contract following his release from Cheltenham Town.

The left-back originally arrived at the Racecourse in January and went on to make 15 appearances for the club - as well as landing himself in hot water with the FA for hitting Chester striker Kane Richards in January's Lookers Vauxhall Stadium derby draw .

New Wrexham AFC signing James Jennings with manager Dean Keates
New Wrexham signing James Jennings with manager Dean Keates

Another player familiar to the Deva faithful, Chris Holroyd, has also joined Wrexham.

The ex-Chester City striker has penned a one-year deal following his release from losing FA Trophy finalists Macclesfield Town, who have also lost defender Neill Byrne to Gateshead.

Holroyd and Jennings become Dragons manager Dean Keates' third and fourth new signings of the summer following the additions of centre-back Shaun Pearson from Grimsby Town and full-back James Hurst from Dover Athletic, whose exodus shows no sign of slowing down.

New Wrexham AFC signing Chris Holroyd
New Wrexham signing Chris Holroyd

Keates had a clear-out of his own at the end of the campaign.

Winger Iffy Allen has now joined Bromley, who have brought in another wideman, Luke Wanadio, from Dartford, as well as left-back Tyrone Sterling from the aforementioned Dover.

And centre-back Martin Riley has signed for newly promoted FC Halifax Town, who have also completed a permanent deal for goalkeeper Sam Johnson, agreed fresh terms with Josh Wilde, Nathan Hotte and Tom Nicholson, and released Isaac Baldwin, Elliot Harrison and Richard Peniket. The latter has since joined Gateshead.

AFC Fylde, who have come up alongside Halifax, have made Kidderminster Harriers defender Jordan Tunnicliffe their first summer signing.

Tranmere Rovers

The beaten play-off finalists have now agreed new contracts with five players: Jake Kirby, Adam Buxton, Evan Gumbs, Mitchell Duggan and Liam Ridehalgh.

But defender Michael Ihiekwe has left the club to make the leap up two divisions with Rotherham United.


As expected, Eastleigh have signed former Portsmouth captain and midfielder Danny Hollands after he opted against staying at Crewe Alexandra.

Hollands penned a two-year deal and became the Spitfires' second signing of the week following striker Paul McCallum, who was the leading marksman for relegated Leyton Orient in 2016-17.

But, with the Leyton Orient Fans' Trust considering taking the troubled Os into administration to save them from liquidation, the club has bigger problems right now.


Striker Gozie Ugwu scored 21 goals in 49 appearances for the Cards this season - and it has landed him a move to Chesterfield.

New Woking boss Anthony Limbrick will be hoping, therefore, that Inih Effiong can help bridge the gap.

Former Wycombe Wanderers striker Gozie Ugwu has returned to the Football League after a fine season with Woking

Effiong, a prolific marksman with Biggleswade Town, joins from Barrow who, as we know, are not short of a forward or six.

The Cards have also tied down midfielder Joey Jones and Kane Richards to new deals. Zak Ansah, Max Kretzschmar, Michael Poke, Brian Saah, Frazer Shaw and Ismail Yakubu have been released.

Best of the rest

Dagenham & Redbridge have offered fresh terms to Luke Pennell, Sam Ling, Josh Staunton and Joe Widdowson, and let Frankie Raymond, Luke Guttridge, Shomari Barnwell, Jakob Berkowicz, Curtley Williams, Paul Benson and Leo Donnellan go.

Guiseley have got full-back Danny East to commit his future to the club, Solihull Moors have made Stourbridge strikers Chris Lait and Luke Benbow their first summer signings and agreed a new contract with defender Liam Daly, while Torquay United have retained the services of Luke Young and Sean McGinty but lost those of Aman Verma and Dan Sparkes.

Maidstone United will be training three mornings a week next season, rather than two evenings, and that means long-serving duo Alex Fisher and manager's and players' player of the year Tom Mills have been unable to commit. Top-scorer Jamar Loza is, however, sticking around. He's signed a one-year deal despite Football League interest.

And Boreham Wood have put their leading marksman Morgan Ferrier, who has been the subject of recent £50,000 bids, up for sale, and released Junior Lewis, Tom Hitchcock, Jai Reason, Kenny Davis, Jason Goodliffe, Ben Goodliffe, Ben Nunn, Femi Ilesanmi and Matt Paine.