Lucas Dawson looks set to remain with Chester FC , but his future hasn’t been resolved just yet.
The midfielder was part of the 2017/18 team photo at the newly-named Swansway Chester Stadium yesterday but remains without a contract with the Blues, although both parties are keen to make it a permanent arrangement.
The 23-year-old former Stoke City junior made 11 appearances for the Blues towards the end of last season, playing for the club on non-contract terms for little more than expenses.
Having been out of the game for 12 months after leaving AFC Telford United, Dawson impressed on a number of occasions with his displays and with the benefit of a full pre-season would offer another strong midfield option for Chester manager Jon McCarthy next season.
With the additions of Ross Hannah, Harry White, Paul Turnbull, Andy Halls, Kingsley James, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, John McCombe and Nyal Bell, money is tight with regards to the playing budget, but McCarthy is hopeful that a resolution can be found.
“I want him to stay and he wants to stay,” said McCarthy.
“We just need to find the money. We want as much money as we can get out on the pitch but there comes a point when they have to go ‘hang on a minute’, because of what has happened to this football club in the past. That is the stage that we have got to and everybody is working hard to find the next bit of money.”
Chester have been making strides both on and off the pitch this season and commercial deals such as the two-year stadium sponsorship agreement with Swansway Chester has been a big boost.
Out-of-contract striker James Alabi, leading scorer for Chester last season with 17 goals, is expected to agree a move to new pastures in the coming days, with Tranmere Rovers a likely destination.
Wherever Alabi ends up the fee is likely to be determined by a tribunal and how many more bodies Chester can bring in will be dependent on just how much they receive.
But McCarthy says the club, who rejected a £10,000 bid from League Two side Barnet in January, are in a strong position.
“The James Alabi money, it would have to be a good deal for it to actually generate something,” he said.
“In terms of what we have done, the club have gone out on a limb and given me the opportunity to do some business early knowing that will come in. They have made a sensible decision based on the minimum we would get. If we exceed that at a tribunal, which I think we should, that may change things.
“We were the ones that really developed James Alabi when other clubs didn’t and I would expect a tribunal to recognise that. We have a really strong case and we have somebody now who can make a case (Mark Maguire). We know go prepared with someone who really understands the football industry and the business side of things and can make a strong case for us, as we did with Sam Hughes (who moved to Leicester City for £130,000). That would have been £50,000 in January which would have plugged a hole.”
McCarthy is hopeful of adding a back-up goalkeeper, Dawson and defensive cover to put the finishing touches to his squad.
Chester were trailing a young, versatile defender from a Premier League club but wages proved a stumbling block, although the club remain keen on pursuing a deal.