PETERBOROUGH United manager Darren Ferguson has admitted that his 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 £1million mark previously reported.
Ferguson has said both clubs are “still a good bit apart” when it comes to their valuations of the highly-rated teenager who finished as top scorer for Pools last season.
James has handed in two transfer requests, the first was rejected, and was due to hold talks with manager Colin Cooper after training at Maiden Castle yesterday.
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 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 striker Britt Assombalonga when he moved to Nottingham Forest.
James is not their only transfer target, with Gateshead forward Marcus Maddison, 20, also on their wishlist and they are ready to move on to other targets if Amble-born 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 yesterday, 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.”