How Chester FC fare in the next couple of weeks will likely determine how long midfielders Gary Roberts and Dominic Vose stick around for.
The duo have made a positive impact with the Blues since joining and are playing on a non-contract basis with little cost burden on the cash-strapped football club.
Roberts, 31, had his short-term deal extended by another month after the Community Trust and Chester Exiles supporters group clubbed together to find the funds , and Vose is not picking up a wage and is playing for expenses funded out of the remainde of the club’s Squad Builder fund.
The 3-2 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday saw Chester remain six points adrift of safety in the National League, and with a run of games coming up against teams in the top half the task looks a mammoth one to stave off relegation.
Roberts and Vose are key to any hope Chester still have, but should the gap grow even wider after the next set of games then Marcus Bignot acknowledges that the club may have to make a decision.
“The situation we have got is that there was a little bit of money left over (for Vose expenses), and we are talking weeks,” said Bignot.
“We are going to get a situation where Gaz Roberts, there will have to be a decision made, and there will have to be a decision made on Dom Vose. Unfortunately that’s where we are.
“You have seen the kind of quality they bring. We are working on next to nothing but on that next to nothing we are certainly bringing in players who are making a difference. It’s not longevity, were are not working on that basis.
“There could be interest from other clubs, it’s as obvious as that. But in the right here, right now there are going to be conversations over whether we can keep a Gaz Roberts and whether we can keep a Dom Vose.
“If the gap becomes too big then I would understand the football club’s decision. All I ever work on - and I think I’m easy to work with and work for - all I want is honesty and I will always respect the club’s decision. Just tell me the reasons why and I will always respect it. I just want that two way relationship and if there is that understanding and communication then you are always going to respect each others decisions.
“I will always respect the football club and the bottom line is that the football club is a priority and making sure we have a football club. But I am not giving up the fight to remain a National League club.”
Things are looking bleak on the field for the Blues this season and Saturday’s horror show in the final five minutes where, leading 2-1, they somehow managed to leave empty handed from Dagenham. Three points would have proved massive.
But while there is still the faintest of hope and a chink of light, Bignot says he will be fighting to keep Roberts and Vose while looking to add to his squad - if he can find anyone else willing to play for free, that is.
He said: “While we are still in it, and I believe we are still in it, I will be fighting to keep a Gaz Roberts and a Dom Vose and still looking out there for someone who doesn’t cost us a penny and doesn’t cost us a penny on expenses because we don’t even have that now. What little money we did have that has gone out now.
“We are still looking believe it or not, we have to because we still might lose players and if we do then we have to make sure we have adequate replacements. We are getting a little bit thin and we are down to bare bones at the back and will be down to bare bones in other areas of the pitch if one or two do move on.”
Chester, who saw goalkeeper Sam Hornby recalled from his loan spell by Port Vale on Monday , are next in action when they play host to Bromley on Saturday (3pm) before welcoming Dover Athetic on Tuesday evening (7.45pm).