WINSFORD United may turn to Middlewich Town's Les Miranda to solve their goalscoring problems.
Manager Dave Twite paid the striker, who quit Barton Stadium partway through last season, a high compliment: 'If he had stayed with us then he would have scored the goals to take us up - I am sure of that.'
Middlewich resumed training on Tuesday and hoped Miranda, pictured, was committed to their own ambition of promotion from the Mid Cheshire League, to join Winsford in the North West Counties.
But their manager Terry Murphy has revealed he and Winsford face opposition from the third club in Miranda's affections, Barnton.
Miranda, who emerged as one of Mid Cheshire's top amateurs at Middlewich first time around, married last year and was unable to commit himself to the Winsford cause. He went to Barnton, Winsford and back to Seddon Street.
Twite said: 'Hopefully I can persuade him to come back to us. He would get us 25 goals a season.'
But the United boss is also casting a wider net. There is still a chance chairman Mark Loveless can persuade another ex-Blue, Danny Worthington, to return to the Barton Stadium.
Worthington, now with Congleton Town, once promised Loveless he would return.
Twite said: 'Mark is hoping to speak to Danny this week and I just hope he is persuasive. Danny is the kind of experienced player of proven ability that would make us a promotion side.'
If neither Worthington nor Miranda choose Blues then Twite still has other options.
Belgian Terry Riguax trained with the squad at the weekend and, says Twite, looked quick and sharp. But the one-time Anderlecht youngster, who is working at Warrington, is 5ft 6ins and may not have the physical presence the United attack needs.
Enter Andrew Stoneley, a former Middlewich Town teenager who is 6ft 5ins and an easily-located target man. He is Chester-based but is a soldier and subject to a different kind of foreign tour to those enjoyed by football.
That still leaves Neil Holden as the fifth choice, but not necessarily last, striker.
Meanwhile, United's hopes of landing another of their former stars, Gary Talbot, were dealt a blow when the player himself announced he was flattered but would not be signing up. Altrincham want to keep the centre-back.
United have signed Kevin Longsdale, from Rylands, to step into Dave Turner's boots as a partner for Dave Chambers. Turner has work commitments and another possible successor is local lad Lee Morgan, who has also joined squad training. United are giving trials to former Congleton player Dave Bloor. United's first friendly is against Northwich Vics Res at home on Tuesday, July 27 (6.45pm), and are at Styal on the following Friday. They host a Manchester City XI on August 18. Cup luck is so far with Winsford. They have a bye in the FA Cup extra prelim and meet the winners of Curzon Ashton and Morpeth. The winners of those three are then at Witton Albion. In the FA Vase, United host Marske, who they knocked out of the FA Cup last year.