ACCRINGTON Stanley manager John Coleman is hoping to snap up French defender Julien N'Da.
The 20-year-old, who has played at home-town club Niort and Rouen in France, is an Ivory Coast Under 21 centre half and impressed during Stanley's Monday friendly with Clitheroe.
"We are in talks with his agent," confirmed Coleman. "I would like to sign him - he does only speak about eight words of English at the moment but it worked for Rommy! (Boco)
"He can handle the ball well and was strong in defence for us so we are hoping we can get something sorted out."
N'Da impressed the watching 350 crowd in the 3-1 win over the UniBond side but returned to France immediately after the game.
Meanwhile, Coleman, whose side lost their final Conference match at Kidderminster on Saturday but still finished 11 points clear, was set to speak to his out-of-contract players yesterday (Thurs) and make decisions about the future.
It is thought defenders Leam Richardson, Michael Welch and Danny Ventre will be offered new deals although Welch is believed to be interesting a number of league clubs.
Steve Jagielka is also out-of-contract while Andy Todd will not be offered anything from Burton, the club he was on loan from. Keeper Danny Alcock is another waiting to hear if he has a new deal as is midfielder Mark Boyd.
But one person Coleman is optimistic about bringing back is shot-stopper Rob Elliot, who they hope to get on a season long loan from Premier side Charlton.
"I am in talks with Charlton and am hoping to finalise something soon," said the boss.
He admitted it has been hard formulating a released list after his squad as a whole have done so well to clinch the Conference championship. "We have a few out-of-contract but there haven't been any snap decisions. They have been decisions taken over the season and it is part and parcel of being a manager."
And, along with N'Da, he is casting his net far and wide to try and get more players in for next season. Coleman has said he wants to boost his midfield and his forward line and also had a look at former Everton Under 18 striker Paul Hopkins, who has been on loan at Darlington and scored in the Clitheroe clash.
"I want a squad of 19 or 20 for next season. I think we need to strengthen in every position.
"I won't make any hasty decisions as you can be forced to repent at leisure. If you sign in a panic you can have a long time to regret it. But there are a few signings I have identified and hopefully, I will get it right."
Meanwhile Paul Cook has hung up his boots after Accrington Stanley and a Burnley XI drew 4-4 in his final competititve match on Tuesday in front of a crowd of more than 1,000.
Cook will now focus on his role as a coach at Stanley - while aiming to move onto management at some stage.
"I want to thank everyone who came - it was a fantastic night and I was made up. It was a good game for everyone and I am glad I managed to come off the pitch without crying as it can get emotional!" said the 39-year-old.
"But I have got to do my A license coaching badge soon and I am going to concentrate on coaching and hopefully move on to be a manager. John Coleman and the chairman know this, that if the right job comes then I will be free to pursue it.
"I have said all along I am no threat to John as I will never manage Accrington Stanley while people like John are here and John and the chairman have done great for me. I am fully aware that there are not jobs out there and it might never happen and, at the moment, I am focused on giving Accrington 100 per cent."
Rommy Boco took a knock on his ankle in the game and had to be carried off but, despite his ankle swelling and having an X-Ray, he is expected to be able to enjoy his summer before returning for pre-season training in June.
Meanwhile, Coleman is unsure who will join the Reds in the league. Ex-Stanley player Jon Kennedy should be in goal for Halifax against Grays tomorrow (Sat) while former Red Ged Brannan will play for Morecambe against Hereford on Sunday. The return legs are next week.
"If I had to have a £100 bet on one of of them I would go for the one where I would win the most money," said Coleman. "It could be anyone of the four - there are no favourites. From a personal point of view, because of my history and all the people I know, I would like to see Morecambe promoted but I do think it is wide open."