JOHN Coleman is hoping Accrington Stanley’s transfer embargo will be lifted this month – while also tying up two Reds stars to new deals.
The Stanley boss has opened up negotiations with strikers Michael Symes – named PFA Player of the Month for December this week – and Bobby Grant about new contracts as he hopes to ward off interest from other clubs during the January transfer window.
However, while early talks have gone ahead with both out of contract in the summer, neither have signed yet - with Symes stating he is prepared to wait until the end of the month - meaning the next few weeks could be nervy for Stanley with Derby County said to be chasing the 13-goal striker.
Blackpool, also linked with the 26-year-old have, denied any interest although League Two leaders Rochdale will be in the market for a striker if they lose Oldham loanee Chris O’Grady.
Coleman, obviously, wants to hold onto his current play-off chasing squad and add to it although the Reds are currently under an embargo from the Professional Footballers Association as they owe £50,000 to the PFA and so can only have 20 players registered at the club.
That’s the amount of players the Reds have so far after re-signing loan players Billy Kee, Tom Lees, Johnny Flynn and Dean Bouzanis on deals Coleman hopes will keep them at the Crown Ground until the end of the season, while Gary King and Peter Murphy have also extended their six-month contracts until May.
But Coleman would like a couple more players – and wants to also secure the services of in-form hitmen Grant and Symes as soon as possible.
"I am hoping to sit down with Ilyas Khan and Dave O’Neill next week and talk about the embargo as it would be great if we could get it lifted and I could bring a couple more players in," said Coleman, with his side three points off the top seven.
"I have had preliminary talks with Michael and Bobby about new deals and we are hoping to sort something out.
"We are not a non-league club anymore. We don’t have to sell players now and we don’t sell players so they can progress their careers as we want to progress as a club and we have a lot of ambition. We certainly won’t be giving players away.
"Michael is a level-headed lad and I have talked to him about the situation and he understands it.
"Obviously it has got to be a contract that is good for both parties and we haven’t got a lot of money to throw around but I do not want to break up this team.
"Bobby is under 24 so it is a different scenario with him and I have spoken to him as well and we hope both of them will sign in the next week or so but we will wait and see.
"I hear that clubs are linked with players but papers can link players to any clubs. Anyone with more than five goals tends to be linked somewhere.
"I could link myself to Sheffield Wednesday or Burnley but I always think it is better to be asked first.
"Being touted around other clubs doesn’t necessary mean things will happen so we don’t take a lot of notice of it."
Coleman is pleased to get all his loan players signed up again.
Although most are on month-to-month deals initially, Coleman is keen to keep them all until the end of the season.
"I am happy for all of them to stay. There are month-to-month deals for some but it is just the circumstances. Hopefully all will be here until May and they will help us remain challenging for the play-offs."
It’s hoped Leam Richardson, who has been out all season with a hip and hernia injury, will be back training within this month while Chris Turner (ankle) has returned to action.
And Coleman would like to make one signing – midfielder Alan Burton who came through the Reds’ academy but can’t be re-signed due to the 20-player rule. "He is at Marine at the moment but he deserves a contract and I would love to sign him," added the Reds boss.