CHESTER have made 'take it or leave it' offers to their players with the season just a fortnight away.
Only players wearing the first-team shirt will be paid and the contract on offer will be non-negotiable - a policy which operated successfully last season.
Director of rugby Terry Allen believes it is the only way forward for a club like Chester, which is determined not to overstretch itself financially.
'We refuse to spend money we haven't got,' he said. 'Whether this affects our ability to attract good players remains to be seen, but we are not risking financial problems like many other clubs have done.
'We are still looking to strengthen the squad and we believe we can build a team to take us up into the National League, but it won't be at any cost.'
From last season's first-team squad, Chester have lost Paul Campbell, who has moved because of his job, and Sean Green, who has gone to university, but they have brought in second-row Steve Fox from New Brighton and talks are taking place with other potential newcomers.
'We believe the future of the club lies with our juniors,' added Allen. 'We have many good young players coming through the ranks and one or two are knocking on the first-team door for this season. These youngsters are the heart of the club, but the problem is hanging on to them when they reach university age.'
Chester have their first warm-up game tomorrow when Ruthin visit Hare Lane (3pm) and, tomorrow week, Wirral neighbours Caldy will provide the opposition.
The first competitive game is against Morpeth in the Powergen Cup on Saturday, August 30 with Sheffield providing the opening North One fixture at home the following weekend.
* Chester are recruiting players aged 16 or 17 for their colts teams. Chester will be taking part in the Cheshire and Lancashire League next season with training on Thursdays at 7pm at Hare Lane.
Further details are available from Ron Tagg on 07736665959 or Gary Graham on 01244 348169.