JOHN Coleman was hoping to have at least one new face when his side run out at Lincoln tonight (Fri) - and all eyes were on No 1 target Aaron McLean.
The transfer window slammed shut at midnight last night and, as the Observer went to press yesterday, the Stanley manager was believed to be chasing the five goal Grays striker who he has had his eye on for some time.
Coleman watched the pacey 23-year-old as the Conference leaders enjoyed a 3-0 win over Northwich on Monday - and McLean has impressed by scoring in every Grays game so far.
Athletic boss Frank Gray though was keen to hold onto McLean - who would cost money - and highly-rated winger Michael Kightly.
Other names in the frame for a late Stanley swoop were Morecambe midfielder Dave Perkins who handed in a transfer request at Christie Park a couple of weeks ago.
Coleman also watched the 24-year-old turn out for Morecambe recently and Perkins hasn't played in the last two games for the Shrimps fuelling rumours of an August move.
"I don't know what is happening with the David Perkins situation, we have had no bids for him yet, but I want him to stay," said Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy earlier this week.
The Reds chief also has a French goalkeeper on trial as Rob Elliot's absence with an ankle injury has been longer than expected and the goalie is still at Premiership Charlton having treatment
On the other side, the Reds hadn't heard anything more from League Two side Yeovil about their long-term interest in winger Gary Roberts, who they made a £50,000 bid for in July.
But it is thought the Glovers were prepared to let ex-Red Anthony Barry go out on loan this week.
Meanwhile, Stanley striker David Brown, currently out of the side but still with one year to run on his contract, was said to be interesting a few clubs.
The Reds' team, however, were concentrating on Stanley's clash at one of the promotion favourites Lincoln tonight, who are unbeaten in the league so far this season. And one player is desperate to hurt the Imps by getting on the scoresheet - midfielder Ian Craney.
"I didn't score last year until about this time, so I am due a goal around now. It is my time," said Craney, who scored 13 league goals last season.
"I am not panicking yet - even though I am getting some stick about it from quite a few people! - because I know the goals will come.
"It's not my job anyway although it is always nice to score!"
Paul Mullin, Rommy Boco, Gary Roberts and Michael Welch have been the goal heroes so far but Craney is certain his turn will come.
"I'm sure I am worth a bet as I will score in the league!
"And, as a team, we are getting more confident as the season goes on.
"There is a big buzz around the place after the Nottingham Forest Carling Cup win even though our draw against Rochdale was disappointing on Saturday.
"I can't wait for Lincoln now and I think it will be one of the hardest tests of the season - but we do tend to be able to raise our game against sides like this.
"They haven't been beaten yet in the league but I think we do play better when we are away from home and pass it more and I think, if we play to our potential, we may even beat them.
"Everyone is going to expect us to get beat but I like night games and I think we have improved since the first game of the season as we get to know this league better.
"And who knows that goal may come tonight!"
Stanley will miss Saturday's Man of the Match Rommy Boco tonight as he is on international duty as Benin take on Togo in the African Nations Cup qualifiers.
"Rommy has done well and was terrific against Rochdale - his work-rate and his ability on the ball," said boss John Coleman. "We will miss him but it gives someone else a chance."
Striker Andy Mangan, midfielder Andy Procter and Brown are waiting in the wings.
- STANLEY Reserves won 6-1 against Blackpool on Wednesday.