Peterborough United move to good to turn down says Luke James

TEAM-MATES AGAIN: Luke James and Jack Baldwin (left). Picture by FRANK REID
TEAM-MATES AGAIN: Luke James and Jack Baldwin (left). Picture by FRANK REID

LUKE James said leaving Hartlepool United for Peterborough was “too good an opportunity” to turn down after signing a four-year deal.

The 19-year-old has been courting interest from League One Posh for almost a month and it was no surprise that he signed for the London Road club on transfer deadline day.

James had handed in two transfer requests and failed to show up for training for three days with Pools as the saga overshadowed the opening weeks of the season.

But the deal was finally confirmed 90 minutes before the transfer window shut and he has spoken of his delight. He could even make his debut for Posh tonight in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie with Leyton Orient.

James joins central defender Jack Baldwin - who left Pools for Posh for £500,000 on January deadline day - and former loanee Christian Burgess at his new club.

The striker said he had spoken to Baldwin and the teenager admitted as soon as he knew Darren Ferguson’s side was interested he wanted to join.

He passed a medical yesterday morning and has been handed the number nine shirt, vacated by Britt Assombalonga who joined Nottingham Forest for £5million.

James said: “I am over the moon that everything is completed and I am now a Peterborough player.

“As soon as I knew about the interest I wanted to come to the club. Peterborough is a great club and I am thrilled to be here.

“Peterborough are a club that are going places.

“I spoke to Jack Baldwin and he told me what a great club it is and I just can’t wait to get started.”

The striker came up through the youth team at League Two side Pools after joining as an 11-year-old.

Amble-born James signed his first professional contract on his 17th birthday in November 2011 and went onto establish himself in the first team.

He has thanked Pools for helping aid his development but admitted he felt the time was right for a change.

James added: “I have been at Hartlepool a long time. I want to thank them for all they have done for me.

“I have been there a very long time, but I felt the time was right.

“It was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“I am very excited about playing my football in League One.

“It is a new environment, but hopefully I can hit the ground running,” added the striker, who was speaking to his new club’s website.

The 19-year-old striker has been the subject of interest from the League One outfit over the last month, leading to him handing in two transfer requests and missing the game at Wimbledon.

James did return to training after the Bank Holiday Monday break and was named on the bench for the trip to Cheltenham Town, where he came on after Town had taken a 90th-minute lead.

It was his 100th appearance for Pools and he scored 22 goals for the club but he is now starting a new chapter with League One leaders Posh.