KEITH Curle faces his first official match in charge of Chester City at Oxford tomorrow and admitted he is already desperate for next season to start.
Although he was introduced to the fans at last Saturday's game against Northampton Town, his tenure as the Blues' boss began last Monday. But he won't be on the touchline for the final fixture of the season at the Kassam Stadium, leaving that role to his assistant John Gannon and former caretaker manager Dave Bell.
'We are a management team at Chester and I will be sitting in the stand,' he said. 'I will have some input in team selection, we all will, but with injuries and suspensions, we don't have many options to make changes.'
Added Curle: 'The game at Oxford isn't particularly important as far as I am concerned, but it will go on my record. I can't wait for this season to end because I can't wait for next season to start, but although I expect 100% commitment from every player at Oxford, no-one can prove any more to me in this game as far as ability is concerned.'
The ex-Mansfield boss, who took the Stags to a losing play-off final against Huddersfield last season, already had a good look at the players before he was appointed and he hinted there would not be wholesale changes in the dressing room before next season.
'We have 13 players still under contract and I have a budget to work to, but I will be talking to the players next week and they will be told who will figure in my plans and who will not.
'I don't want players still on contract to be missing a year out of their careers if they are not in my plans, so it would be in their best interests to look for other clubs.
'I know the players I would like to bring to the club. I want to turn the squad into one which would put Chester City into the top seven in League Two next season, but that can't be done with some of the players who are already here. I can't guarantee anyone a place at the club.'
Joe O'Neill and Sean Hessey are definitely out of tomorrow's game because of suspension and Michael Branch is lined up for a minor knee operation next week and will not be included. Robbie Foy has been under treatment for an injury but is expected to be fit to play.
City face an Oxford side in disarray following Wednesday's resignation of Argentinian manager Ramon Diaz, who played in the 1982 World Cup, after contract negotiations broke down. It is expected his countrymen Horacio Rodriguez and Pablo Fernandez will remain on the coaching staff and be in temporary charge tomorrow.
Chester have reported encouraging season ticket sales with fans taking advantage of an earlybird offer which includes a discounted junior ticket.