THE Accrington Stanley management team have admitted they will have to reassess their squad with the introduction of the new transfer deadline rules.
It was revealed this week that the Nationwide Conference will now fall in line with the Premiership and the Football League with a transfer window for the first time.
Conference clubs will not be able to sign players after the end of August, except during a one-month period during January.
"It is a nightmare," admitted assistant manager Jimmy Bell. "I don't know why it has to be introduced at this level.
"We will have to talk about carrying a couple more players and having a bigger squad although obviously we will all have to get together and decide what to do. It doesn't mean we will sacrifice quality to get more in but we will have to look at the situation.
"If this rule had come in last year we would have been struggling. We lost Steve Halford and Jon Kennedy to broken legs very early on. You can't plan for things like that but now we will have to try to. Luckily then we could get other players in but we wouldn't be able to under these new rules.
"We will have to hope there are some loopholes for loan signings and things like that.
"This rule could kill teams lower down the league like Forest Green, who only have squads of 16 or 17. You get a couple injured and you are struggling."
Chairman Eric Whalley admitted: "We are a little concerned by the introduction of the system at our level.
"Clubs are going to have to ensure that their squad is big enough to cope with any injuries and suspensions which are picked up in the early months of the season."
Stanley are still looking to continue building their new-look squad following the signing of defender Andy Tretton two weeks ago. Bell said the club were expecting to tie up a deal for a league midfielder by the end of this week who they hope will add experience.
"We are all a bit wiser after last year but we still have a relatively young squad so we have been looking at players with a bit more experience," he said.
One name in the frame has been Chester's captain last season Paul Carden, who was released from the Deva Stadium in the summer.
Stanley have also set their sights on a league left back and have their eye on a striker to partner either Paul Mullin or David Brown - who has agreed terms and just needs to sign a contract when he returns from his holidays.
However, whether they sign another forward does depend on Lee McEvilly's on-off move.
"Everything has been agreed between Lee and the club in question, it just a case of waiting to see if the club can come up with the funds. It seems to be getting a bit complicated," said Bell. "However, we have also heard another club have since expressed an interest in Lee. It does depend what happens with this, though, as to whether we get another striker, although we had looked at a league player.
"We also, of course, need a goalkeeper."
Bell also expects winger Rory Prendergast to be with the Stanley squad next season. Conference side Exeter were said to be tracking the left sided player but it has gone quiet.
"I can see Rory being with us at the start of the season. He still has a year on his contract and we expect him to be here."
Bell said he has also spoken to both Gary Roberts and Chris Butler last weekend and both have agreed contracts and these just need signing.
Meanwhile, the assistant boss said he is gutted for Northwich Victoria who were officially relegated at the Conference AGM last weekend with Forest Green earning a late reprieve.
Despite the Vics finishing out of the relegation places and overcoming a 10 point penalty imposed for going into administration, they have been sent down over issues regarding the ownership of their ground and their membership of the FA and the Conference.
"I am gutted for their manager Steve Burr," said Stanley's assistant boss. "They had pulled off a minor miracle to survive and it is so disappointing for them. And we never seem to win at Forest Green!"
Next season's league fixtures are out next Thursday - and will be in the Observer - with Bell knowing the Reds need to do what they did last season and get off to a good start after they won four out of their first five games.
"You need to have a good start - that is important. Usually if you start well, nine times out of ten you will hang in there and that is what we did last season until the final week. It is important."
- ONLY two clubs will be relegated from the Conference National next season as the league looks to expand. Four teams will be go up from the North and South divisions to create a 24-club top-flight for the 2006-07 season.
- THE GLS Conference Cup has been scrapped after just one year. Stanley reached the Northern final before losing to Stalybridge on penalties. Woking won the competition.