WITH just one game left of the National League North season, Chester joint managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson have confirmed they will be axing a number of their squad by the weekend.

The introduction of a hybrid model remains crucial to the bosses plans next season and with players anxious to learn about their futures it seems that clear that a number of footballers have already played their last games for the club.

A figure of "six or seven" had been mentioned by Johnson when asked how many players will be retained for next season, but it remains unclear at this stage who is on the left.

Speaking after the goalless draw with Brackley Town which confirmed Chester were unable to reach to the play offs, Morley admitted it would be a difficult week for both players and management.

"Getting rid of players is going to be difficult, it always is," said Morley. "I said it in my interview a couple of weeks ago, there is going to be a clean slate and players are going to get the answers this week.

"Now that the play-offs are done and out of sight, it is time to honour them and respect them and tell them if they are going to be here next season or not, and whether they want to be with us or not.

"I think it's important we allow the players who aren't going to be with us to start planning as well as us. I think that is only fair."

Morley and Johnson are looking forward to a longer close season in which to organise their squad and have already identified targets to bring into the Swansway.

"We have paid a lot more attention in terms of ourselves this season and watched a lot more games.," continued Morley. "We live and die by the sword and we have made mistakes this season. Will we make mistakes next season? Probably. But we want to see improvement on and off the pitch, and the hybrid thing is massive for us in terms of competing with the top two or three teams. It is important we are fitter than we are this year.

"We're massively keen to go hybrid, which will mean training on a Monday morning, Tuesday and Thursday night and a Friday morning. We feel as a management team that gives us our best chance to not only be fitter and spend more time with the lads but also for our youth. It's important we get to know those players and they become a part of what we do."

Meanwhile, one of Chester's successful graduates from the club's youth system is looking forward to playing a bigger role in Morley and Johnson's plans next season.

Iwan Murray has enjoyed a recent spell in the first team and grabbed his opportunity with a brilliant opening goal in the 3-0 Good Friday defeat of Ashton United.

"It fell nicely for me and I thought I'd give it a hit and luckily it went in the back of the net," said the 18-year-old reliving his first league goal for Chester. "Before the game the gaffer said I was to have no less than five shots by the final whistle so I had to get one away when I had the chance.

"We have some momentum and haven't lost for a few games now so it's important we take that into next season. I have to work hard and if I deserve a spot I'm sure the management will give me a chance like they have done all season."