Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman admits he is scouring the country in a bid to boost his firepower.
The Reds boss has lost 48 of their 73 League Two goals last season with the departures of Terry Gornell, Jimmy Ryan, Phil Edwards and Sean McConville.
He has signed strikers Craig Lindfield and Kurtis Guthrie and, in his attacking three midfielders, has Ian Craney with Danny Coid also an option and Charlie Barnett was due to sign a one-year deal yesterday.
But Coleman, who says he has been on his phone constantly, admitted he is still short up front: "We need strikers and attacking midfielders and I have been on the phone to everywhere from the Premiership, to the Championship to the Blue Square Premier League for players to loan, free transfers and perhaps kidnaps if necessary!
"A lot of Premier clubs do not want players to leave at the moment so it is hard."
Coleman still has a host of trialists at the club including ex-Hamilton midfielder Jon Routledge, keepers Josh Welsby and Sean Murdock, winger Calvin Crooks, former Leeds United trainee Liam Darville along with Nick Kudiesky, Dean Overson and Chris Lynch, all released from Burnley.
"I am in a situation where I can’t gamble with players," said Coleman.
"I have got to be sure as we can’t carry a big squad. They have therefore got to be right. I have spoke to a few of the trialists and it’s whether they will wait but I can’t jump into decisions."
The signing of Barnett is a boost as he was being courted by Stockport.
The midfielder started well for the Reds last season, playing in both a defensive and attacking midfield role, before an injury meant he couldn’t reclaim his place in the team.
"Charlie is a good player and he was playing well until he got injured but then Luke Joyce came in and played very well," said Coleman.
"Charlie told me early on he wanted to stay so we have been sorting out the contract."
Former Tranmere midfielder Barnett admitted, like several other Stanley players, it is a big season for him.
The 22-year-old said: "I was always going to sign. There was some interest from Stockport but I always wanted to stay in the Football League so I am glad to sign here.
"Last season was hard as I started off well but missed the final third of the season after getting injured and losing my place but the lads were winning and so I just had to be patient.
"I was on the bench for the play-off semi-finals against Stevenage and you do want to go on and help the lads but I think we can learn from that.
"A few lads froze on the big occasion and I don’t think that will happen again if we get there.
"I am disappointed to see Terry (Gornell) and Jimmy (Ryan) go as they are mates as well as team-mates.
"We are going to miss them, and Sean McConville as well, but I have remained in touch and now we have got to get on without them.
"It was strange the first day back as there were only six or seven of us and then a large number of trialists but it has started to settle down now."
Coleman has since snapped up experienced Danny Coid and Kevin McIntrye and Barnett says this is a boost to the team.
"We have obviously signed some experienced players like Danny and Kevin¿and they will be important as we were such a young team last season. It’s perhaps something we were missing last season."
He continued: "The gaffer has spoken to me and I can play in any of the five midfield positions – the holding roles or the attacking ones.
"I do like playing further forward and I was relatively happy with last season with a few assists and a couple of goals and playing further forward will give me more chance to be creative.
"It’s still a great spirit at the club, John (Coleman) and Jimmy (Bell) always make it like one big family and I have enjoyed my time here and enjoyed the system we play, that’s why I want to stay.
"Hopefully I can get a few more goals."
Stanley played three friendlies last week starting off with a 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday at Morecambe where Jersey-born teenager Guthrie scored the Reds’ goal and earned himself a one-year deal.
"He’s a good footballer, he’s a young lad who’s still learning. He’s certainly one for the future," said Coleman.
Guthrie, 18, admits its a dream come true signing up at the Crown Ground: "A couple of weeks ago I was starting a job as a trainee electrician, now I am scoring against former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson. I can’t believe what has happened, it’s been the best week-and-a-half of my life."
Former Macclesfield and Shrewsbury defender McIntrye has also signed a one-year deal.
"He’s experienced, he’s been there and done it and is a good footballer," added Coleman. "He’s a great worker and fits the bill of the kind of character we want in the team."
The Reds also played a behind-closed-doors friendly against Wrexham on Monday before Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Cammell Laird, with former Blackpool man Coid scoring the winner.
Coleman played Coid as part of the attacking three midfielders and experimented with Ian Craney and Dean Winnard in the lone front man role.
The Stanley boss said: "Dean did well, one thing you’ll never fault Dean for is appetite and work rate.
"Playing one up front there he will always run around and make a nuisance of himself.
"Between now and August 6, though, I’ve got to bring in some forwards.
"I’ve got to hope I can bring in a striker otherwise I’ll be playing centre-halfs up there instead of centre-forwards."
Coleman is also in negotiations with long servant Leam Richardson about a new Accrington deal.
Stanley’s preparations continue tomorrow when they take on Blue Square Premier side Barrow at Holker Street, where former Reds winger Chris Turner is trying to earn a deal.
Kick off is 3pm and admission is £7 for adults, £4 for concessions and £2 for Under 16s.
Stanley travel to Marine next Tuesday (7.30pm) before they make the trip to Stockport a week tomorrow (3pm) where they will meet up with ex-Reds Sean McConville, John Miles and Leighton McGivern again.
STANLEY are still in negotiations with Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe and Stockport over compensation for Gornell, Ryan and McConville as, although they were all out of contract, they are under 24.