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Coleman eyes Aussie keeper

ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman is hoping to snap up an Australian international goalkeeper for next season's full-time assault on the Nationwide Conference.

ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman is hoping to snap up an Australian international goalkeeper for next season's full-time assault on the Nationwide Conference.

The Reds boss currently has no goalkeepers signed up to Stanley's cause for the new campaign as England shot-stopper Jon Kennedy has still to agree a deal and Jamie Speare is on the transfer list.

Jason Petkovic, 31, has 16 caps for the Socceroos between 1995 and 2002 and comes with an impressive pedigree.

The Perth Glory keeper has played around 300 games in the National Soccer League and was close to breaking the league record of 105 clean sheets. He has helped Perth to successive championships.

The six-footer, who has also played for Adelaide City, has had trials with Southampton and Norway's Rosenburg but returned to Australia. He is available on a free transfer while the Australian league is being restructured.

"I keep trying to speak to him but keep getting caught out by the time difference," said boss John Coleman, who has just returned from his holidays and is now going all-out to sort out his squad for next season.

"He comes highly recommended and I am speaking to a few more people about him. We want people to come to Stanley who will strengthen our squad and, if he is as good as people say and we agree a deal, then Jason should do that."

Talks are on-going with Kennedy and Stanley are still hopeful of sealing the season long loan from Wigan with former Burnley keeper James Salisbury.

"If we can agree a deal, Jon Kennedy will be at the club next year and we are still interested in James as we have got to keep our options open."

Meanwhile Coleman is still confident of snapping up Altrincham's highly-rated midfielder Ian Craney.

The two clubs had agreed a deal for the UniBond Player of the Year but it didn't add up for chairman Eric Whalley when he got the figures.

However, Coleman is confident the deal will go through next week.

"I was hoping it would be sorted out this week. They won't budge but we are not a million miles away from an agreement and the one thing in our favour is that the lad is keen to come here. He wants to play for Accrington so I am hopeful it will all go through."

"Then, I think, with a new keeper, Ian Craney and a centre half, we are not far away from having a squad I would be happy with."

The Reds chief was looking through the Professional Football Association list of players who have been released by clubs this week and was preparing to speak to a few. "I have got my eye on one centre half who I am ready to talk to so we will see what happens there."

His squad is around 19 players so far including new signings Stuart Howson, Matt Doughty, Steve Jagielka and Lee McEvilly.

Meanwhile Stanley defender Jonathan Smith has been linked with a move to UniBond side Radcliffe Borough.

Sources at Stainton Park say boss Kevin Glendon is keen to speak to the big defender although Smith does still have a year left on his contract at the Interlink and is eager to play Conference football next season.

Smith had hoped he could keep his job as an acting duty manager at Hyndburn Leisure Centre, with shifts fitting into Stanley's training.

"Kevin has made an offer for Jonathan and I have made Jon aware of it," said Coleman.

"Jon is keen to stay but the problem is that he is part-time. We did think it would be okay but it is not ideal."

"It is up to Jon now about whether he wants to speak to Radcliffe."

The centre half admitted he would be "gutted" to leave his home-town club but hopes to sort it all out soon.

Elsewhere, Stanley's chairman Eric Whalley has spoken to Burnley's new boss Steve Cotterill and finalised their arrangements for the pre season friendly between the two sides.

It will be played at the Interlink Stadium on Saturday 10 July (ko 3pm)

"It is quite early - it will be our first pre season friendly but it is always a good one," said Coleman.

"It will be packed and if it is anything like the fixture last year, it will be a good game."

  • FORMER Stanley striker Brian Welch has signed for Radcliffe Borough.


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