Chester joint-manager Anthony Johnson insists neither he nor Bernard Morley will panic regarding their striker shortage heading into the new season, say The Chester Standard.

With just over a week before the start of National League North, the Blues are without a recognised centre-forward following the recent departures of Ross Hannah (contract terminated) and Jordan Archer (joined Bury).

The need to sign a striker is heightened further by the fact attacker Matty Hughes – who can play up front on his own – is suspended for the first two matches of the new campaign.

The Blues are hoping to tie up a deal for former Football League striker Deane Smalley over the coming days, having started three of Chester’s pre-season matches, while two other trialist centre-forwards were also used during the 2-2 with Morecambe on Tuesday night.

“It’s the same answer that I’ve given you and that Bernard will give you, they’ve got to be the right player to come in,” Johnson said, when asked if the Blues are any closer to solving their problem up top.

“We’re working hard on it. They might be a player who becomes available that can score 25 goals, but if they don’t offer the work-rate that everyone else is doing then the whole pack of cards will fall.

“We won the league with a lad who scored 17 goals last year, Harrogate won promotion with a top scorer of 14.

“We need people chipping in all over the pitch. We don’t need a 30-goal striker, but we need players who are clinical and ruthless when they get in that position.”

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