JOHN Coleman is closing in on his first summer signing in Carlisle midfielder Luke Joyce.
The 21-year-old has had limited opportunities with the League One side and was released at the end of the season.
The Bolton-born youngster had been out on loan at Conference National sides Barrow and Northwich last season after starting his career at Wigan alongside Reds defender Phil Edwards.
"He is the type of player I want. He has played in the league and is desperate to get back to playing regularly," said Coleman.
"He is hungry and wants to prove himself. By all accounts, he has done well at Barrow and Northwich and we are keen to sign him."
Negotiations are still ongoing and Coleman was also in talks with a striker and a centre half today with hopes of boosting his squad ahead of their return to training in late June.
He was also set to give a deadline for keeper Kenny Arthur, winger John Miles, midfielder Andy Procter and defenders Phil Edwards and Chris King to make up their minds about new deals offered to them.
"I have to do it so I know which players I have to look for. We can’t be hanging on for a long time as sometimes you have to move quickly," said Coleman.
Procter has been tracked by both Rochdale and Macclesfield although Macc boss Keith Alexander has said any deal for the midfielder has now gone. Rochdale are still keeping tabs on the Blackburn-born player although it does depend on which players agree deals at Spotland.
Meanwhile Grimsby and Notts County were eyeing up Miles while Arthur is believed to be chased by a number of clubs and Edwards has been offered a two-year deal but is keen on only a one-year contract and is still mulling the offer over.
King is also thinking over the deal he has been offered, after some wages were reduced with Coleman having a lesser budget this season.
Elsewhere, Jimmy Ryan - who has agreed a two-year-deal - is not on Morecambe’s target list despite rumours that the Shrimps want him.
And although Chris Turner, Bobby Grant and Peter Murphy have also agreed deals no one has yet signed.
The Reds chief also had talks with defender Leam Richardson yesterday, who has returned from holiday.
Meanwhile Coleman revealed there had been some interest in transfer-listed striker Paul Mullin, who still has a year left on his Stanley contract.
"There have been a few enquiries and, while I would love him to stay, his wage would cripple my budget so it is a case of doing what I have to to keep the club alive. There is nothing definite as yet though."
The Stanley boss is already looking forward to the new League Two campaign,with the fixtures out on June 17.
"I have not seen anything in this league to really scare me. There are obviously four teams coming down - Northampton, Crewe, Cheltenham and Hereford - and three of them are something of an unknown quantity.
"Then Torquay and Burton are coming up and we know plenty about them. I don’t think anyone who has been promoted has gone straight back down and I don’t think either of these sides will.
"Then there are the other 16 teams and we are not apprehensive about any of them as none of them really outplayed us last season.
"Of those who finished below us, Notts County are pushing the boat out a bit so it will be tough - but hopefully we will boost our squad.
"Our biggest problem last season was scoring goals and, if we had scored more, we could have been on the verge of the play-offs so we need to improve that this season."
Stanley have arranged a pre-season clash with a Blackburn Rovers XI at the FES on Friday July 31 and were trying to sort out the date of their annual friendly with Premiership newboys Burnley.
And Coleman was also going to take his team to a boot camp in Colchester to get them ready for the new campaign.
"We have never done that before and I think it will be good for us."