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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 1999
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FEBRUARY 1999

26 February 1999
AISTON INJURY BLOW
On-loan striker Sam Aiston has played his last game for Chester City after being stretchered off in the last minute at Plymouth on Tuesday. He is sidelined for three weeks with a knee ligament injury. Full back Alex Smith is also having problems. "He's got a groin and pelvic problem and he could hardly walk after Tuesday's game. He's seeing a specialist today to see what the problem is." said the manager. Chris Priest is also struggling to be it for tomorrow's clash with a thigh strain. The manager has also hinted that unless a new buyer is found very soon he will be forced to sell three or four players to balance the books. Alex Smith may be one of the targets after impressing in recent matches since reverting to his normal full back position. Ratcliffe added: "I've had a few tentative enquiries but no bids for Alex."

Shaun Reid begins a three match ban tomorrow following his sending off against Peterborough. Once again school children will be admitted for £2.00 tomorrow. Junior Blues should use the special vouchers.
22 February 1999
ON TO PLYMOUTH
Chester embark on the second leg of their west country tour tomorrow with the game at Plymouth. City manager Kevin Ratcliffe has injury problems over goalkeeper Neil Cutler, Alex Smith, Chrtis Priest and Nick Richardson who all picked up knocks in Saturday's 3-0 win at Torquay. Meanwhile on the takeover front ex-Sheffield United chairman Reg Brearley, now at Grantham, is the latest name to be linked with a possible move for the club.

19 February 1999
TAKEOVER SOON?
There are strong rumours around that a bid will be tabled for the football club in the next few days. BBC TV lunchtime North West news reported that a consortium of NW businessmen was poised to buy the Club next week for £750,000. Administrator David Acland is insisting that he is still talking to interested parties. He also said that the money from Sky, which has kept the club going for the last month, has now run out. The Football League are keeping an eye on happenings at the Deva and spokesman Chris Hull, who met with the ISA last November added: "After all the events of this season the manager and team are doing exceptionally well and I just hope that the business community and the people of Chester show as much commitment to the cause than the manager and players have done on the pitch. We want a positive outcome from all of this and we are anxious to secure Chester's long term stability."
CITY ON TOUR
The Blues begin their four day tour of Devon today. Tomorrow City play Torquay at Plainmoor and play their re-arranged game at Plymouth on Tuesday night. The players are staying over during the period thanks, in part, to financial help from the ISA. Kevin Ratcliffe has hinted at a change in formation for tomorrows game and much will depend on he fitness of midfielder Chris Priest who has a groin injury. Dave Flitcroft is back from suspension and Jon Cross travels after scoring three goals in two comeback games this week. Torquay have one of Ratcliffe's former Everton team mates Neville Southall in goal, but the Gulls will miss the goalscoring form of Scott Partridge, who signed for Brentford in a £100,000 deal yesterday.
16 February 1999
CONROY RETURNS
Striker Mike Conroy has returned to Blackpool for treatment on his back problem and may have played his last game for the Blues. Kevin Ratcliffe had hoped to sign the striker for a thid loan period but that now looks to have been dashed. He scored three goals in his ten games for City and was just the experience up front the side needed with the absence of Luke Beckett and Gary Bennett through injury. "Mick's done well for us. We've had a little bit of trouble up front and he's used his experience to lead the line," said manager Ratcliffe. "He's worked hard for the team and never stopped running. It will also have done John Murphy good to play alongside him as you can always learn from older pro's."

12 February 1999
FLITCROFT SUSPENDED
Blues midfielder Dave Flitcroft is suspended for tomorrow's home clash with Peterborough. This follows his 8th booking of the season picked up at Mansfield two weks ago. Children will again be allowed in for a cut-price £2 for tomorrow's game. The offer is for the West Stand only (turnstiles six and seven).
HELLO ALBERT
Issue 27 of the Chester fanzine Hello Albert will be on sale in the Club shop and around the ground tomorrow priced £1.00.
NO PLYMOUTH SWITCH
Chester will not be re-arranging their home League match with Plymouth Argyle on March 27th. The game clashes with the live televised England Euro 2000 qualifier against Poland at Wembley but club officials have decided against a switch to Friday night.
9 February 1999
RATCLIFFE ON INTERNATIONAL DUTY
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe takes charge of the Welsh 'B' team for their match against Northern Ireland at Wrexham tonight. The former international who was capped 59 times for Wales has been coaching the side at Rossett Hall.
SAM TO RETURN
Chester were due to have Sam Aiston back for a third month's loan in time to make Saturday's home clash with Peterborough United. He was expected to join the Blues for training today. Other loan signing Mike Conroy is also wanted for a third month but City are awaiting a decision from Blackpool manager Nigel Worthington on the deal.

4 February 1999
CHEAP ADMISSION FOR JUNIORS
Children will be admitted to tomorrow's home game with Exeter City for the price of £2 as City look to boost the gate, the cut-price offer is available in the West Stand only (turnstiles 6&7). The Blues are also at home the following Saturday against Peterborough and the club will be looking at two 2500+ gates to help lure any potential buyer. Both Luke Beckett and Julian Alsford player the full 90 minutes of Wednesday's 3-0 reserves defeat, and there may be a space on the bench for either tomorrow as City look for their first win of 1999.

The club also want volunteeers to sell Half Time draw tickets on matchdays. "Sellers are given a match ticket for anywhere in the ground, and also earn commission on the tickets they sell," said commercial man Simon Williamson. Any fans wanting to help out should contact the club on (01244) 390243 or call in at the club shop.

3 February 1999
ALSFORD BACK AT CITY
[Julian Alsford]Central defender Julian Alsford has returned to City on a week-to-week basis. He goes straight into the reserves side that play Bury today. Manager Kevin Ratcliffe said: "I know we've needed to strengthen the side and Julian could be a possibility for Saturday. He'll play in the reserves today an we'll take it from there. He's had a bad time at Dundee and we can give him the chance to play again. He was supposed to be playing for Brighton reserves tonight but he's agreed to join us and he'll play for us today."

Julian added: "I'm pleased to be back, Kev's given me the chance of first team football and although he can't offer me a contract, it does put me in the shop window. "I had been training with Brighton for two days and their caretaker manager Jeff Wood was quite impressed but Kev rang me yesterday and offered me non-contract terms."

Earlier this season Alsford has had trials with both Walsall and Barnet and was expected to sign for the Underhill club but they refused to pay the £30,000 that Dundee United were asking.
2 February 1999
KEV PRAISES KEEPER
Kevin Ratcliffe has praised Neil Cutler following the 3-0 defeat at Mansfield on Saturday. "Cuts has made a number of saves and it could have been a bigger defeat but for him". Cutler collided with Nick Richardson for the Stags' opening goal. "Neil say's he's called for the ball and Nick Richardson's got in his way. They've scored from it and incidents like that changed the game. We've had a chance at the other end through Murph and it could have been a different game if he'd scored. We've been punished for our mistakes and it's the same stupid mistakes that have been letting us down all season. But when you don't talk and communicate then you're going to have problems. There's nothing much I can do because of the size of our squad but I'll remember performances like this when I make decisions in the future." added the City boss.
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