THE first week of the January transfer window has brought nothing but frustration for Blues boss Mark Wright, who is desperate to bolster his squad sooner rather than later.
Wright admitted yesterday that it was “highly unlikely” he would have any new players on board in time for tomorrow’s derby at Shrewsbury Town.
The problem Wright has is that players must be shipped out before others can be brought in – and so far City’s unwanted fringe players are no closer to moving on than they were when the window opened on January 1.
“It’s a matter of whether some of these players want to go, or whether they’re just going to sit and rest on their laurels and pick up wages, which is the wrong thing to do,” said Wright. “A lot of players do that these days. They just sit there, but they’re not doing themselves any favours because they’re not playing football.
“They need to be moving themselves and getting their agents to work at getting them out.”
Chester are at the brink of their salary cap limit and cash is in short supply at the Deva Stadium, which is why Wright must trim his squad before he can buy. He was fully aware of the situation when he took the job on in November.
“The only thing we can do is wait patiently for the go-ahead from our chairman,” admitted the Chester manager. “When he says he can go and do it, then we’ll go and do it. That’s all we can say.
“There are players who we have highlighted and lined up and we want to sort out.”
Veteran duo Tony Dinning and Paul Butler are among the group of players Wright is looking to move on. The pair, who have six months remaining on their contracts, have been offered to Blue Square Premier side Northwich Victoria.
Midfielder David Mannix, who signed a two-year contract for the Blues in the summer, has been told he is surplus to requirements. He was linked this week with a move to his old club Accrington Stanley, although the Lancashire club are unlikely to come in for him.
Chester have also been contacted this week by American club Austin Aztecs, who are interested in signing striker/midfielder Eddie Johnson.
Chester-born Johnson, 24, has made just 11 appearances for the Blues since completing a protracted transfer in October.
Wright knows he must act decisively in the transfer market as January will be a hard month for his team. Tomorrow’s trip to promotion-chasing Shrewsbury is followed quickly by a rearranged home fixture against Luton Town on Tuesday and games against Chesterfield, Lincoln City, Port Vale and Gillingham.
Ideally, the Blues boss would like to bolster his squad at the start of the month rather than waiting until closer to the deadline.
“We’ve got so many big games coming up and I would like to strengthen,” said Wright, who expects Kevin Ellison and Johnson to shake off knocks in time to make tomorrow’s derby with the Shrews. “We need to strengthen now and do the right things now. If we can do that, we’ll be ok.”