HARTLEPOOL United striker Luke James is expected to complete a move to Peterborough United today.
Posh will test Pools’ resolve to hang on to the 19-year-old, having already had one bid rejected.
That bid was deemed “unacceptable” by Pools, but an improved offer could well be accepted for an unsettled player who clearly wants to leave.
James, who has handed in two transfer requests and missed three days training over the past fortnight, returned to the bench for Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two match at Whaddon Road where Pools went down to a last-minute goal.
Posh, who signed Jack Baldwin from Pools for £500,000 on deadline day in January, last week snapped up Gateshead forward Marcus Maddison.
They have said they won’t be upping their bid for James but a deal will be done if an acceptable offer is made for the teenager.
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson, whose side is top of League One, said: “We are playing a patient game with our main transfer target.
“If we don’t get him the loan market opens in a week, although I’m not sure of the merits of going down that route.”
Pools boss Colin Cooper admitted he wasn’t expecting a busy day of incomings on transfer deadline day, with the loan market and free transfers still open to clubs.
But if James – who made his 100th appearance on Saturday – has played his last game, then it ended in defeat.
A 90th minute header from Koby Arthur snatched the late, although not undeserved, win for Mark Yates’ side.
James came on only as a substitute after Cheltenham’s goal.
When asked if he was tempted to start him, Cooper was adamant.
He said: “No – he hasn’t done enough training. I had a couple of conversations with him and we got him down to Cheltenham and part of the team.
“We said it might just have been his afternoon.
“But, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and I will have a look to see if there was anything I could have done different to help the team.”
Pools dropped a place to 20th in League Two, with just one win from their opening five matches – the other four league games all ending in defeat.
Cheltenham: Carson, Brown, Matthew Taylor, Elliott, Vaughan (Sterling-James 71), Wynter, Jason Taylor, Richards, Braham-Barrett, Harrison (Arthur 78), Gornell (Marquis 60). Subs not used: Haworth, Deaman, Hanks, Black. Goals: Arthur 90.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Bates, Austin, Franks (James 90), Miller, Walker, Brobbel (Compton 90), Harewood (Woods 70), Wyke. Subs not used: Richards, Holden, Harrison, Dixon. Booked: Harewood, Austin, Brobbel.
Ref: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire).