With just over a week to go until the National League North begins, clubs up and down the division Chester FC will soon be playing in are approaching the climax of their pre-season preparations.
The schedule of friendlies clubs are going through will soon be at an end, but managers are continuing to add to their squads ahead of league action commencing once more.
And the Blues have been no different.
Ahead of tomorrow’s clash at the Swansway Chester Stadium against an Everton Under-23 side, three new additions to the squad have been brought in by joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.
Goalkeeper Theo Roberts has joined on a one-year deal after he was released last season by Championship side Wigan Ahtletic.
Johnson and Morley have also raided former club Salford for striker Anthony Dudley and defender Danny Livesey on season-long loan deals.
So with little over seven days until the action all gets under way, here’s what teams up and down the National League North have been getting up to.
One of the historically bigger clubs have added to their ranks, at the expense of one of their other National League North and Yorkshire rivals.
York City have confirmed their eighth summer signing with the signature of central defender Joe Tait.
The 28-year-old had been on trial with the Ministermen and scored in last week’s friendly draw against Championship side Leeds United.
Since 2014, Tait had been with Spennymoor Town – who the Blues will kick off their league campaign against next weekend – and help them seal successive promotions to the National League North.
He rejected a new contract with Spennymoor and has now been unveiled at Bootham Crescent.
York boss Martin Gray told the club website: “I had Joe for a few years when I was manager of Darlington and gained promotions with him. He’s someone I really trust as a person and he’s gone on to do very well at this level for Spennymoor Town.
“He is a natural leader and very, very vocal. He’s a really strong individual and, as a character, he brings an awful lot.
“We need leaders, winners, personalities and - with the players we have brought in this summer - we have got a lot of that now.”
Speaking of Leeds, they were involved in a thrilling pre-season encounter last night against a side now co-managed by a former Chester manager.
Guiseley – managed by Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill – came up against Marcelo Bielsa’s side and it was certainly a memorable occasion for the thousands of fans who turned out at Nethermoor.
Paul Clayton gave Guiseley an early lead before Reece Thompson doubled their advantage before the half-hour mark from close range.
Mateusz Klich halved the deficit for the Whites before the break, while Jack Clarke equalised shortly after the restart.
Ryan Edmondson then gave the Championship side the lead for the first time in the match and later scored his second and Leeds’ fourth from a corner with fewer than 20 minutes remaining.
And Guiseley reduced the deficit just before the end when one of their trialists tapped home as the encounter ended 3-4 to Leeds.
Any transfer fees or compensation fees a club at this level can receive for developing a player is always welcome.
But Hereford will not be receiving one for a player who has just signed for a Football League club.
Bulls captain Jimmy Oates has joined League Two side Exeter City following a trial.
The Austrialian full-back has spent the last three seasons with Hereford but has now signed a professional contract.
But due to the fact that he was not under contract at Edgar Street, Bulls manager Pete Beadle has confirmed they won’t receive any compensation for the 27-year-old, despite the fact he was offered a fresh deal by the National League North side.
Beadle told the Hereford Times : “Being over 24 he doesn’t have to sign it and can leave as and when he wants because he hasn’t signed it.
“With Exeter coming in before pre-season then obviously the trial was set up before he signed his contract and when he knew the trial was on there was no way he was going to sign the contract.
“You can’t blame him for that. Had he been on a contract or had we signed him last season and done a two year contract then we would have been entitled to compensation but hindsight is a wonderful thing in all walks of life.”
One player who left the Blues last year will be coming up against his former employers after he was snapped up by Kidderminster Harriers.
Kane Richards joined Chester FC in December 2014 and went on to make 69 appearances in total for the Blues before being released by then-manager Jon McCarthy at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.
After leaving the Swansway Chester Stadium, the 24-year-old joined Dover Athletic , before spending the end of last season on loan at AFC Telford United, who the Blues will also be taking on in the National League North.
And he has now joined Kidderminster to become Neil MacFarlane’s latest addition after spending much of his time during pre-season at Aggborough.
The striker told the club’s YouTube channel: “I’m very happy. I’ve been training for the last three weeks. I’ve come down and everyone’s been very welcoming. We’ve got a great set of lads who have been working hard over pre-season, so I’m very happy to finally get stuff sorted.
“I’ve played these sort of leagues for most of my career to be fair, so hopefully I can help some of the younger boys and they can help me as well. Hopefully we can have a good season.
“Everyone who plays football wants to be playing in the games really. Pre-season is the worst bit of the season for everyone because it’s non-stop working. Obviously you have to do it, but I’m just happy to get the games and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
And we end this round-up with Darlington, who will face a former Premier League and Nigeria international this weekend.
Jay-Jay Okocha played for Bolton Wanderers, Hull City, Paris Saint-Germain and Fenerbache during his playing career, as well as representing Nigeria 75 times and scoring 14 goals.
And The Northern Echo has reported that the 44-year-old will turn out against the Quakers on Sunday as part of a Marathon Bet #NonLeagueChallenge Legends team which will also include Chris Waddle and Marco Gabbiadini.
Darlington will also receive £20,000 from the game after winning a contest last season which sought to find non-league football’s best goal celebration.
The Quakers scooped the prize for Reece Styche’s celebration against Chorley in January, where he jumped into a pile of snow after finding the back of the net against the Magpies.