Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson admits pursuit of Pools striker Luke James is “a good bit off”

Luke James in action against Dagenham and Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID
Luke James in action against Dagenham and Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID

PETERBOROUGH United manager Darren Ferguson has admitted their pursuit of Hartlepool United striker Luke James remains a “good bit off”.

League One Posh have had a bid for the 19-year-old rejected by Pools - although it is understood to be not close to the £1m mark reported.

Ferguson has said both clubs are “still a good bit apart” when it comes to their valuations of the highly-rated 19-year-old who finished as top scorer for Pools last season.

James has handed in two transfer requests, after the first was rejected, and was due to hold talks with manager Colin Cooper after training on Thursday at Maiden Castle.

Asked whether the next 48-hours could be important regarding the pursuit of James, Ferguson said: “We will treat it as we have done and be patient.

“Hartlepool are fully entitled to do what they want to keep a player, we have done that ourselves.

“They will have a valuation on the boy and we will but we don’t want to go anymore than what we have already offered.

“So, that is where the stumbling block is and it is the same with any transfer.

“There always seems to be two different valuations and when you meet in the middle, or meet that valuation, the deal will get done.

“But at the moment we are still a good bit apart, I have to say.”

The Posh manager said he had “no problem” with Hartlepool United and said his club had gone about things the right way and that Pools were entitled to reject bids.

Ferguson, who was speaking to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, added: “The boy [James] is adamant that he wants to leave and that is his prerogative.

“We have done all we can as a football club and have dealt with it in the right way and dealt with Hartlepool directly but like I say it is looking a good bit off at the moment.”

The Posh manager has previously insisted Peterborough won’t be held to ransom by any club with an eye on too big a slice of the £5.5m they received for their striker Britt Assombalonga when he moved to Nottingham Forest.

James isn’t their only transfer target, with Gateshead striker Marcus Maddison, 20, also on their wishlist and they are ready to move on to other targets if James remains elusive.

Ferguson added: “We are working away but I have to say we have got other targets.

“We would be foolish not to and we are inquiring about those other targets at the moment as well.”

James played for Pools in Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat at home to Dagenham & Redbridge.

Speaking to the press this morning, Pools boss Cooper said: “All I can say is that, as a contracted player I expected him to play the other night and he did himself credit.

“After the game I was handed another transfer request, so that’s where we are.”