ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman has agreed terms with his first summer target in experienced defender Colin Murdock.
The Northern Ireland international, 32, was released from League Two rivals Shrewsbury Town and has agreed terms on an initial one- year deal with the Reds.
"He is over six foot tall and is the type of centre half we have been looking for," said chairman Eric Whalley.
"He is also a left sided player so that should help us out too as we are short on the left.
"We have been lacking someone tall to head and kick the ball a long way and we have got that in him."
Murdock has a wealth of experience, having played nearly 300 league games, and was a big part of Preston’s successful Championship team under David Moyes, where he spent five seasons.
He has also played for Hibernian, Crewe and Rotherham, having started his career at Manchester United.
Stanley were also interested in another Shrews centre half Darran Kempson, who was on loan with the Reds last season, but the chairman says that deal is off.
"He is under contract and they want a fee and we won’t pay a fee, that is out of the question," confirmed the chairman.
Meanwhile he hasn’t ruled out bringing winger Gary Roberts back to the club.
The 21-year-old left to join Ipswich in November 2006 on loan and then signed for £220,000 in January 2007 but has been in and out of the team.
And Ipswich boss Jim Magilton says he will listen to offers for the wideman, despite Roberts signing a four -year deal at Portman Road.
"He is obviously someone we would be interested in. If he was available we would take him back but, again, we can’t pay a fee. But you never know," said the chairman.
The Reds chief says he doesn’t expect striker Andy Mangan, who has been released from Bury, to return to the club and that he knows nothing about the link with Barnet striker Guiliano Grazioli, who is also a free agent.
"All I know about that is that he has been released," said the chairman.
"But we are currently in talks with a striker and a defender from league clubs and are just waiting for them to get back to us.
"We have had a clear out at the end of this season and we need to bring better players in.
"And if some of those players staying had not been under contract another few would have gone as well."
Relegated Wrexham are believed to have asked to talk to midfielder Paul Carden, who is currently on loan at Cambridge, but has a year to run on his Reds’ contract.
Carden does haves bigger things on his mind at the moment as he, along with ex-Red Lee McEvilly, will be at Wembley on Sunday for their loan club in the Blue Square Premier League play-off final against Exeter.
But the chairman says they will listen to offers for Carden.
And the same goes for John Miles, who also has a year on his contract, but is currently on loan at promoted MK Dons.
It is also thought Mark Roberts, released by Stanley, has signed up for Conference side Northwich, where he was on loan at last season.
Meanwhile, Chester have invited striker Mark Smythe, who has a short spell with the Reds, for a trial.
The chairman also confirmed that work will begin on a 1000-seater stand on the Whinney Hill terrace - but that they have written to the Football League to see if they have to do it.
The Reds have to have another 1000 seats at the Fraser Eagle Stadium by 2009 according to League rules.
"We don’t hold out much hope but we have written a letter to the Football League asking for special dispensation saying what is the point of having 1000 seats when there is no one to sit on them?
"We know it is the rules and we expect that we will have to abide by them but it seems mad building a £1m stand that no one will sit in.
"And we will have to somehow find investment to pay half of that as the Football Foundation grants are only half the amount.
"However we have got someone who is liaising with the council about it at the moment so we hope to start work shortly, if we have to."
l COLEMAN will have to pay £750 out of his own pockets after he was fined and given a two match ban by the Football League after being sent off against Chesterfield.
It means he will not be in the dug out for the first two games of next season.