VAUXHALL MOTORS new manager Owen Brown set about reshaping his squad last week, bringing in three new signings ahead of the deadline for this coming Saturday's FA Trophy trip to high-flying Alfreton, in the wake of some poor defensive showings since his arrival at Rivacre Park at the start of this month.
In the previous week he had already recruited experienced left-sided player Paul Robertson from Altrincham and the impressive Hugh McAuley, who last season was playing League football with Cheltenham.
McAuley prefers playing in the hole behind the strikers and his link-up play as a 62nd minute substitute in last week's league trek, also away at Alfreton, suggested he has plenty to offer the Motormen.
But the 5-1 drubbing suffered that afternoon, coupled with another defensive nightmare away to Woodley Sports in the Uni-Bond Cheshire Senior Cup last midweek, which the Rivacre Park club lost 4-3 in extra time, proved to be the watershed for some of the club's personnel.
Brown described his position after that game as 'like being in charge of the suicide squad' and labelled them 'kamikazee'.
As a result, the Motors boss moved quickly to snap up goal-keeper Mike Kinsella, Carl Spellman and Carl Macauley ahead of Friday's Trophy deadline.
Kinsella, a former keeper with Droylsden and Aberystwyth, doubles as a goalkeeping coach with Everton's youngsters and looks a smart signing.
Spellman is a hard-tackling right-sided player, who has spent many successful seasons with the Motormen in a previous spell with the club, while Macauley's capture has been described by the manager as a great signing for the club.
When Brown was in charge of Barrow, Macauley was one of his two big-money signings and his best value-for-money buy, from Lancaster.
The pair helped guide Barrow to the UniBond Premier Division title, while last season the player captained Burscough to their amazing Trophy final success at Villa Park.
His versatility means he can operate in a number of positions, though his preferred position is that of right back.
To make way for the newcomers, long-serving striker Nicky Young has teamed up once more with his former boss Alvin McDonald at Conference strugglers Northwich Vics for an undisclosed fee, John Norman has been released and Stuart Wright has moved to Altrincham, again having spent a number of seasons at Rivacre Park, mainly on the fringe of the squad.
And at least four more squad members are expected to leave the club in the next few days as Brown reshapes his squad for the challenges ahead.
The Motormen's poor run of results has seen them slip to 15th in the UniBond Premier Division and with no league match for two weeks, the need for changes was all too obvious, especially as it is essential the club finish this campaign in the top 13 posi-tions to qualify for next season's proposed Conference North.
The club has already been visited by the Conference hierarchy and their Rivacre Park ground has been passed for admittance to the new league, though a number of important ground improvements will need to be carried out by April 1 2007. These include additional seating, toilets and turnstiles and improved floodlighting and training boxes.
However, at present one of the four members of the Alliance charged with implementing the pyramid clubs wishes, the Ryman League, is now involved in a legal wrangle with the FA over the proposed new divisions, the Conference North and South.
But as far as the Motormen are concerned, this is their main aim - they want to be playing Conference North football next season. And it is Owen Brown's job to ensure they achieve their goal.
Last Saturday, Motors were left idle an the odd team of 23 and the new boss made use of the open date by scheduling an additional training session, ahead of this week's two cup ties.
Tonight, they entertain Rossendale United at Rivacre Park (7.45pm) in a delayed UniBond League Cup tie. And then on Saturday, they return to Alfreton, the scene of their recent 5-1 defeat, for that FA Trophy tie.
When the Motormen left Alfreton's ground a week last Saturday, the hosts officials requested that Vauxhall bring the same squad of players back a fortnight later, presumably thinking that another drubbing awaits.
But Owen Brown is about to disappoint them after his busy week of wheeling and dealing. Watch this space.