ACCRINGTON Stanley are trying to finalise a deal to sign Kidderminster defender Steve Burton in time for Saturday's home clash with Conference leaders Barnet.
And Stanley are hoping it is second time lucky after they tried to sign the left-sided player in October 2003 when he was at Hull City but it fell through.
Since then, Hull-born Burton has moved to the Coca Cola League Two side but is out of favour there and Harriers manager Steve Watkiss has given Burton permission to talk to Stanley with a view to a loan deal until the end of the season.
And he could be thrown straight into the melting pot if he makes his debut on Saturday as he will line up for in-form Stanley against the jittery leaders Barnet as the Reds look to make it six wins on the bounce.
John Coleman's side have faced a tough February so far but are flying high after picking up two wins against promotion rivals Scarborough and Exeter - and three victories in the cups.
They are now in joint third spot and victory over the league's pacesetters - who have won just one of their last four league games - followed by all three points over Halifax at home on Tuesday should propel the Reds into a top five place.
And the club are hoping for a bumper crowd on Saturday with Burnley and Blackburn facing each other on Sunday in the FA Cup.
"It will be a hard game but we set ourselves a target about a month ago about how many wins it will take to get us in the play-offs," said the Reds chief.
"Now we think we need another seven or eight wins so we have got to keep our heads down.
"That's five wins on the bounce now and there is no point leaving it there - we are at home to Barnet and we have got to win.
"We said a couple of weeks ago that there is no margin for error and there are certain games you can't afford to take nothing from. That's probably going to be every game now that we have to take something out of.
"It is still early days but the league will become clearer as the weeks go on as everyone will be playing each other and everyone will drop points."
Stanley striker Lee McEvilly is in red-hot form with six goals in five games including the two against Exeter last Saturday.
Meanwhile Bees and Conference top scorer Guiliano Grazioli, with 19 goals this season, has scored only once in six games as he has hit a lean patch.
Barnet still have a 15 point lead at the top of the table but manager Paul Fairclough admitted: "Since the new year our form has been a bit stop-start."
But he is backing his side to bounce back after losing to Hereford last week.
"You need games like this to shock you back into reality. You learn by pain and there's no reason why my side cannot continue to be great - as it has been all season."
Striker Lutel James has returned to the Interlink this week after he broke his foot in a loan spell at Droylsden.
"We haven't got the biggest squad," said Coleman. "Lutel is back but he is still injured and Ged (Brannan) is now back after his rib injury. We have 17 players at the moment and we are planning to strengthen it but I am sure everyone at the club has a part to play between now and the end of the season."
The Reds, though, are without midfielder Andy Procter who is suspended tomorrow after picking up five bookings.
Meanwhile, Stanley then will be hoping to do the double over their play-off rivals Halifax when the two clash in the rearranged game on Tuesday night at the Interlink. The home clash was postponed on Boxing Day because of the snow but Stanley beat the Yorkshire side in their first game of the New Year at the Shay live on Sky television. And Halifax are on the hunt for revenge.
Skipper Steve Bushell has returned to the fold after a gashed ankle and admits his side have two huge games as they face Aldershot on Saturday and then Stanley.
"All season people have been waiting for us to blow up but I think we have proved that we will not," said Bushell. "But I am afraid the old footballing cliche holds true and we will just take each game as it comes and see where we end up."
Stanley target Dean Howell, who has rejected a new contract at the Shay, scored for Town at the weekend and is expected to start on Tuesday.
- BURNLEY Reserves will be playing the rest of their Pontins Holiday League games this season at Accrington Stanley. The two clubs received clearance from the Football League this week.