THE Conference have soured Mark Wright's championship celebrations by refusing to allow him to make youngsters eligible for debuts at Hereford tomorrow.
The title-winning Chester manager has several players unavailable for the final fixture of the season and may have only two substitutes on the bench in the all-ticket game at Edgar Street.
With Kevin McIntyre suspended, Danny Collins sidelined with a leg fracture and Shaun Carey (hamstring) among those under treatment, and Daryl Clare back home in Grimsby to be with his new son who has been having breathing problems, Wright sought permission to sign two or three teenagers on the necessary forms.
He said: 'The Conference have allowed Hereford to sign goalkeeper Chris McKenzie from Telford but wouldn't let us sign some youngsters to play a game which has no bearing on the Conference honours.
'It is stupid. It doesn't make sense. I think the Conference make up their own rules. At the moment, I don't know who is going to be available.'
In an attempt to make up the numbers Wright has recalled Ian Foster from Kidderminster.
Collins was desperate to complete the season as an ever-present, but not only will he miss tomorrow's game, he is out of the England National Game squad for the home internationals in Scotland next month. Also included are Scott Guyett, skipper Paul Carden and Phil Bolland.
McIntyre's three-match ban will also take in the opening two fixtures next season.
Wright has already been linked with the vacant manager's position at Walsall, but he refuses to discuss that. He did confirm, however, that he is not under contract at the Deva Stadium and is waiting to talk to chairman Stephen Vaughan about his future.
'The chairman has had a lot to do this week and we haven't got together yet,' he said. 'I can't start thinking about team-building for the third division until we have talked, because I don't know what budget is available.'
It is common knowledge Wright wants to bring Stewart Drummond to the Deva from Morecambe, but there have been strong indications on various websites this week that second division Blackpool are to go in strongly for the midfielder who lives only down the road from the resort.
'I have said before I would like to have him at Chester, but we will have to wait and see,' added Wright, who is keen to get away for a well-deserved holiday. 'I need a good rest, but I am also committed to a testimonial match for Danny Wallace and a golf day in Southampton, as well as a few other things,' he said.
Stephen Vaughan has accepted an invitation to travel with supporters on the train to Hereford tomorrow and will then watch the game from the terraces.
City have sold 1,800 tickets for the game and are determined to continue the promotion celebrations now the pressure is off.
'The fans have been brilliant throughout this great campaign and some supporters asked me to join them on the train,' he explained.
'Chester City is a club that tries to embrace the community and if this small gesture indicates the solidarity we hope we are creating, then that's tremendous.'
Chester City Council have written to the club offering a civic reception. The afternoon of Saturday, May 29 has been earmarked.
Chester reserves beat Chorley 5-0 this week.
The ISA player-of-the-year award was again shared, this time by defender Danny Collins and Daryl Clare. Michael Twiss' superb effort against Woking, was voted goal of the season.
Chester are organising an end-of-season presentation at the Moat House Hotel on Friday, May 21, attended by the first team squad, staff and special guests. As well as a three-course dinner, there will be a professional boxing show and presentation of supporters' awards to players.
Tickets can be reserved by calling Ian Knox at 01244 371376 (ext 3) or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org