Will Luke James stay at Hartlepool United after Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson says deal is dead in water?

STAYING OR GOING? Luke James in action against Dagenham& Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID
STAYING OR GOING? Luke James in action against Dagenham& Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper is planning sit down talks with want-a-way Hartlepool United striker Luke James after the club rejected a bid from Peterborough.

Posh have warned Pools they won’t be upping their bid – believed to be close to £1m – for the 19-year-old who stunned Pools on Monday teatime when he handed in a written transfer request.

When asked about the situation after last night’s 2-0 defeat at home to Dagenham & Redbridge, Cooper said he planned to sit down with James when the squad returns to training on Thursday.

The Pools manager wouldn’t say much else other than to confirm a bid of £1m hadn’t been made, as had been strongly rumoured, but he didn’t deny an offer had come in.

Posh manager Darren Ferguson finally confirmed their interest in James last night but said they won’t be increasing their bid and said as things stand the deal is “dead in the water”.

The speculation about James’ future won’t go away though before the transfer window shuts on Monday, September 1.

Cooper told SportMail: “Luke has handed his transfer request in, we acknowledge that it has come in but until we decide to do anything there is nothing really else to say.

“We realise it has come in and acknowledge the points he has made in that request.

“All we can do is do the official thing, which we have done, and responded to it and then when I see him on Thursday I will sit down and have a chat about it.”

The Pools manager would only say the transfer request has been “acknowledged” but SportMail understands it has been turned down.

Asked if the figure of £1m was true, all Cooper would say was: “I can assure you there hasn’t been a bid of £1m made.”

The striker was afforded a warm round of applause when his name was read out last night and he put in his usual shift up front but, like his teammates, struggled to score.

Ferguson finally admitted interest in the 19 year-old following his side’s defeat by Sheffield United at London Road last night.

But Ferguson insists Posh won’t be held to ransom by any club with an eye on too big a slice of the £5.5m received for striker Britt Assombalonga three days before the start of the current season.

He told the Peterborough Telegraph he is ready to move on to other targets if James remains elusive.

Ferguson said: “Our valuation of players we are interested in won’t change because we have banked a bit of money for Britt.

“We have a valuation of Luke James and his club have every right to reject our bid, but we won’t be upping it and we have other targets that we will now pursue,

“Our valuations of players won’t change just because our bids get rejected.

“We’ve made that mistake in the past when we’ve gone back in for players after initially having our bids rejected. Me and the chairman are now adamant that won’t happen any more.

“At the moment the Luke James deal is dead in the water because they have rejected our bid and we won’t be improving our offer.

“We can’t afford to hang around for players when we have others we are interested in. Anyway we have shown already this season that we have enough up front.”