CHESTER CITY last night officially applied to the Pontins League to upgrade the standard of football for their reserve team next season.
The Nationwide Conference champions will be playing in the third division of the Football League next season, and the initiative is designed to close the gap between the standard of reserve football and the first team.
"Playing the likes of the reserve sides of Oldham Athletic, Blackpool, Wigan Athletic and Tranmere Rovers will be far more beneficial to us as a club," said City chairman Stephen Vaughan.
"We have enjoyed our time in the Lancashire League and we shall be making a donation to them as a way of saying thank-you. But we think its time to move on as a club," he added. "We intend to build up the playing strength of our second team, as well as creating a stronger youth infrastructure. This is naturally the way forward for a club like Chester City."
Chester don't expect to make any further signings this week, they made their first closed season swoop 10 days ago, when they snapped up the Morecambe midfielder Stewart Drummond.
"We have agreed terms with Scarborough for their winger Keith Gilroy. We will sit down with the player next week when he returns from holiday to discuss personal terms and hopefully conclude the deal," said Vaughan.
Meanwhile, Chester's open-top bus tour around the city this Friday evening, which had been arranged to celebrate the club's Conference championship, has been cancelled.
Apparently there have been concerns from the local police force regarding timings and the planned route.
Shaun Carey, who made 22 appearances in City's titlewinning campaign, and was released at the end of last month, has joined Conference South club Hornchurch. The 27-year-old former Rushden midfielder has signed a two-year contract with the Essex side.