JON MCCARTHY accepts Chester must endure a ‘period of frustration’ but remains steadfast in his commitment to key transfer targets.

The Blues have lodged their interest in several players who boss McCarthy has previously stated would ‘excite’ the Chester fanbase, who grew angry with on-pitch displays towards the end of last season as the Blues suffered eight straight home defeats.

With season ticket details set to be released later this week, McCarthy retains his faith that Chester can secure ‘three or four quality players’ to give the first-team squad a major boost ahead of their return to pre-season.

“It’s a frustrating period for everyone at the club and I know the fans will be sharing the same frustrations,” said McCarthy, who is hoping to hear back off club captain Luke George this week, with a contract offer still on the table.

“But we can’t determine where our targets will end up at the moment. We don’t have that control at the moment but we’ll regain some of that control as we get closer to pre-season.

“There was always going to be a lull in this period as we were signing up two or three players per day in the week which followed the season finishing.

“We’ve got clear targets as to those three or four quality players we want to bring to the football club. We could go for cheaper players, but we want the chance to sell ourselves to these players, as a club with a great fanbase, history and a great stadium.

“We’re talking to players, we’re talking to agents, and we’re doing all we can to improve the quality of the playing squad.”

Meanwhile, Blues’ defender Sam Hughes is closing in on realising his move to the Football League, with chief executive Mark Maguire anticipating a phone call from the 20-year-old’s likely suitors over the course of this week.

Hughes, who has dazzled at the heart of Chester’s defence, in midfield and at right-back over the past 18 months, has attracted the attentions of Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley, who had a bid rejected for the younster in January.

Maguire added the club remain confident of being well compensated if out-of-contract Hughes’ transfer goes to a tribunal.

“We haven’t yet received any contact from other clubs regarding Sam but we would expect to do so fairly soon,” Maguire said.

“In any event we have moved to ensure we are protected and get the best possible deal.”

Chester now have eight pre-season friendlies booked in for July, with Port Vale’s visit to the Deva on Saturday, July 29, the latest to be added to the list.

McCarthy, whose side will kick-off with a trip to Runcorn Town on Monday, July 10 (7.30pm), is pleased with how pre-season is shaping up and hopes friendlies with the likes of League One side Walsall will help provide the Blues with key links as the 2017/18 campaign progresses.

Last season their healthy relationship with Walsall saw the Blues bring in both goalkeeper Liam Roberts and full-back Theo Vassell on loan spells.

“We’re very happy with the pre-season schedule, I believe it’ll give us a good run of games before the season starts,” he continued.

“There’s obviously a few links there. Port Vale is a good one for myself with my history with the club, and there’s Walsall too who we have built up a healthy relationship with.

“Clubs come looking for us in terms of friendlies, it’s a good location and we hope it helps build a few links and later in the season they may be able to repay the favour of goodwill down the line.”