CHESTER are trying to complete the signing of Northampton Town striker Darryn Stamp, despite competition from third division Lincoln City.
The tall 24-year-old Yorkshireman has had talks at Sincil Bank, but City haven't given up hope that he could travel to Exeter with the rest of the squad today to make his debut at St James Park tomorrow.
Manager Mark Wright has been longing for a targetman for some time and Stamp's arrival, for a fee believed to be around £15,000, could be the catalyst to kickstart a flow of goals which have been threatened but not forthcoming.
Daryl Clare has still to return following his knee surgery and new signings Kevin Rapley and Ian Foster, Mark Beesley and on-loan Robert Gill, are all competing for a place up front and all of them could benefit from a big targetman.
Wright wasn't giving much away yesterday. 'Nothing has happened yet, but we are hopeful,' he said.
Stamp hasn't had much luck since moving to Northampton from Scarborough for £45,000.
He injured knee ligaments 17 minutes into the first game of last season and was out of action until November. He forced his way back but managed only 13 starts (10 as sub), scoring five goals.
He was also injured in the final game of last season and spent much of the summer break working hard to get himself fit.
Stamp has already proved himself to be an effective player in the Conference, having scored 12 goals in 28 appearances at Scarborough.
Even if he gets his man, Wright's hand is already strengthened by the return of Jon Brady following a three-match ban and central defender Phil Bolland, who has recovered from injury.
Likely to be missing again, though, is skipper Andy Harris who broke his hand against Tamworth, and Scott Guyett will be out for another fortnight and Clare even longer.
But the City boss has been so pleased with the way his team has performed so far, he may be reluctant to make changes tomorrow.
He added: 'Bolland and Brady will be travelling to Exeter and we will have to assess things.
'All I would say is that those who have worn the shirt in recent games have done ever so well.
'We are in for two hard games against Exeter and Shrewsbury. Both clubs will want to get back to the League, but if we keep doing what we have been doing, we needn't worry about them. We know we are good enough.'
City expect a good crowd on Tuesday (7.45) for the visit of Shrewsbury Town who, like Exeter, were relegated for the Football League last season. This fixture was originally scheduled for Monday, but was put back on police advice.
* Midfielder Ben Davies has signed a two-year extension to his contract. The former Kidderminster player has been a big success since joining City last season and has recently added a new dimension to his game by getting further forward and being rewarded with goals.
* Jamie Heard, who has taken advantage of Brady's absence to play all three games this season following a summer trial, has been given a contract until the end of the season. He was formerly with Hull City.
* Three City officials, Terry Allan (secretary), Dave Burford (general manager) and Ian Knox (commercial manager), have joined the board of directors.
* Chester have started work on an extensive improvement programme at the Deva Stadium to provide new corporate boxes and supporters' bar facilities.
* Chester won 5-0 at Vauxhall on Tuesday in a Lancashire League game with Ian Foster (2), Shaun Carey, Mark Beesley and James Selkeld getting on the scoresheet.
City meet Leigh RMI on Tuesday at Flint (7.30).