ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman admitted it could have got "messy" if he hadn't snapped up his number one summer target Lee McEvilly.
The 22-year-old striker, nicknamed "Evil", was released from Rochdale on Monday and Stanley wasted no time in signing the Northern Ireland international in a two-year deal.
"As most people know, I have been chasing Lee for a while," said Coleman who made a bid for the striker when he was at Burscough before he signed for Rochdale for £20,000 in 2001.
"I was pleased when Rochdale released him as it could have got messy as we really wanted him. He wanted to come here and he is now just looking forward to playing regular football."
McEvilly scored 25 goals for Rochdale in 85 appearances - 30 from the subs bench - and enjoyed a successful two month loan spell at Stanley with two goals this season before he was recalled to Spotland.
But, while the boss was smiling at one move completed, he was disappointed that Stanley's £5,000 bid to sign Altrincham midfielder Ian Craney has been unsuccessful. The UniBond side rejected the offer for the 21-year-old England semi-pro player.
"I don't think we will go back with a bigger offer as you don't have to pay transfer fees so much at lower levels anymore," said the Reds chief. "We gave them a good sell-on clause of 50 per cent. I think the lad wanted a chance of full-time football and we want him so if they change their minds then they know where we are."
Meanwhile former Blackburn defender Stuart Howson is another player Coleman hopes to sign.
The Chorley-born 22-year-old played for the Reds' reserves last week and Coleman was impressed.
"I will be speaking to him this week as we are interested in taking him," confirmed the boss.
The left-sided player left Rovers to join Chesterfield in February 2002 but broke his ankle in March last year and has struggled to make an impact with the Spireites since and made just 10 appearances last season.
Meanwhile, Stanley are still interested in former Burnley defender Steve Davis from Blackpool although it does depend what happens following Steve McMahon's departure from Bloomfield Road. Another target, Lennie Johnrose, has finished at Burnley as his month-to-month deal has expired.
And Coleman confirmed he will be talking to keeper Jon Kennedy, midfielder Andy Procter and left back Steve Hollis this week to finally sort out their futures.
One club is thought to have made an enquiry about a current Stanley player while goalkeeper Jamie Speare, on the transfer list, has had interest from a number of sides.
Stanley's reserves, meanwhile, finished runners-up to Morecambe in the Lancashire League after ending their campaign with 1-1 draw against Lancaster and 3-1 win at Guiseley.
- CHAIRMAN Eric Whalley is currently trying to finalise the pre-season friendly with Burnley and this could be played at Turf Moor. Meanwhile, the Reds will play Rochdale in pre-season on 14 July to go with the games arranged against Crewe and Preston.
- STANLEY'S annual presentation evening will take place tomorrow night at the Stanley Sports Bar, starting at 7.30pm. It will be followed by a disco and karaoke. Price is £2 on the door.
- ACCRINGTON'S Joel Pilkington and Matt O'Neill have been offered a one year extension to their contracts at Burnley FC after their first year pro contracts came to an end.