Ross Thorpe was left disappointed more Premier League sides wouldn’t listen to Chester’s appeal for loan signings.

The Blues received a favour from Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth on transfer deadline day, with the Cherries letting teenage centre-back Shaun Hobson link up with Marcus Bignot’s side, while Alex Firth arrived five days earlier as a back-up goalkeeper from Liverpool, the only two clubs to not be demanding a fee for one of their youngsters.

With Chester not in a position to pay a fee or wages for their recent loan signings, assistant manager Thorpe – who has also given up his wage and is working voluntarily for the club – feels top tier clubs should have leapt at the chance to give their best youngsters a chance of regular first-team action.

“We’re not asking for charity, I don’t think that was the case, but I feel this is an opportunity for the Premier League clubs,” he said.

“We knew we’d have to look at Premier League loans in January, we had been planning for it.

“But Liverpool and Bournemouth were the only two clubs who didn’t want a fee for their players. What does that say about the state of affairs in our game at the minute?

“It’s a chance for these young lads to come and get experience in what is a hugely competitive National League, and we can almost guarantee they will play.

“When the Development Under 23s Leagues were set up it was meant to aid young players’ development, but I think there is nothing better than going out on loan and playing regular first-team football. That’s how you learn.

“We’re grateful to Liverpool and Bournemouth, who have both been great to us given the position the club finds itself in.

“But it’s just unfortunate more clubs aren’t willing to follow suit.”

Bignot, who has Shep Murombedzi playing for free, admitted it was frustrating not to have been able to do more business with the Premier League clubs, but stressed his only other main target ended up signing for a team in League Two, so was accepting of the situation.

“Those were the main two but we were in conversations with one other club,” Bignot explained.

“We were on a tight time period and the only other target we had, he’s gone to League Two, so that’s fair enough.

“We knew it would be an 11th hour move if it happened so to lose him was disappointing but it’s understandable.”