CHESTER CITY are expected to complete the signing of the former Port Vale and Reading midfielder Alex Smith later today.
The 27-year-old former Everton apprentice, who has been training with City for the past month, is ineligible for Saturday's FA Cup first round tie against Gravesend and Northfleet at the Deva Stadium, but he is likely to be included in the squad who travel to face Morecambe in the Nationwide Conference fixture next Tuesday evening.
This will be Smith's second spell with City, he spent the 1998-99 season at the Deva Stadium, making 32 appearances and scoring two goals.
City chairman Stephen Vaughan said last night: "The management and staff have been impressed with Alex during the period he has been training with us, so we will sign him on, and possibly talk about an extended contract towards the end of the season."
Meanwhile, Chester have lost out in the race to sign the Morecambe midfielder Adriano Rigoglioso, who has decided to join third division Doncaster Rovers.
Vaughan said: "Obviously the lure of League football attracted the lad. We understand that Doncaster's offer wasn't as high as ours, but the decision has been taken by the player and his club, and we accept that."
Chester have been informed that their influential midfielder Paul Carden, who was controversially sent off at Scarborough last weekend, has received a one-match ban. The player will miss the home game against Barnet on Saturday, November 15.
Central defender Danny Collins, who was due to play for the England National game XI against Belgium at Darlington last night, pulled out of the squad after suffering a spasm in his back.
City are hopeful that Collins will be fit enough to play in the weekend game against Gravesend.