Chester FC are aiming to keep hold of right back Reece Hall-Johnson for the remainder of the season.
The 22-year-old’s initial loan deal from League Two side Grimsby Town expires tomorrow (January 19), meaning he won’t be available for this weekend’s crunch home encounter with Gateshead (3pm kick off).
Hall-Johnson, who missed the FA Trophy second round defeat at East Thurrock at the weekend through injury, has been a key man for the Blues since arriving at the club in October and has recently come back into the fold after missing a month of action with a hamstring injury.
The former Norwich City and Braintree Town man has made 11 appearances for Marcus Bignot’s Chester side during his loan spell, netting once in the 3-2 win over Barrow at the end of October.
Bignot has made no secret of his desire to keep hold of the defender to aid their battle to beat relegation from the National League and the Chronicle understands that discussions between clubs are ongoing and that the Blues are hoping to be able to get a deal done before this weekend, although any deal is by no means cut and dried.
Chester’s exit from the FA Trophy at the weekend saw them miss out on what would have been a much needed £7,000 boost.
And Bignot admitted after the Trophy defeat that the exit meant that he may be stymied in his bid to bring another body into the squad.
“It would have been nice if we had got through as I’d love to bring a player in and that kind of prize money, we would be able to possibly bring someone in on a short-term deal,” said the Chester manager.
“I’d love to add a player to this group. The player we have identified, I think he would really help the group.
“We haven’t been bad (bringing players in), and I don’t mean short-term to get people through injuries and things like that. You look at Reece Hall-Johnson, Sam Hornby, Goughy (Jordan Gough), and hopefully we get Jordan Archer back.”
Another player who Bignot would like to keep hold of beyond his current deal is midfielder Gary Roberts.
The 30-year-old former Crewe Alexandra, Port Vale and Yeovil Town man signed a short-term deal with his hometown club last week and made his debut in the FA Trophy defeat as a second-half substitute.
But his Blues bow lasted only nine minutes when, after impressing in the short time he was on the pitch, he was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Rocks midfielder Max Cornhill, ruling him out of the next three games.
“We all know he shouldn’t be at this level but he is and there is a reason why,” said Bignot.
“I’m gutted for him. He tells me he got the ball and to lose him will be a big blow.
“I want him but financials will dictate. It is another question I will ask the football club and I will await an answer.”