Peterborough United manager Grant McCann insists Callum Elder remains a major transfer target this summer, despite the arrival of left-back Andrew Hughes from Newport County yesterday (June 6).
Hughes signed a two-year contract at the ABAX Stadium, but is braced for stiff competition for his place from another full-back. And Elder, impressive at Posh until picking up an injury last December when on loan from Leicester City, is McCann’s preferred choice.
Elder is expected to sign a new deal with the Premier League champions who are then expected to send the 21 year-old out on loan again.
Hughes is one of three new defenders to be signed by Posh this summer. Right-back Hayden White (from Bolton) and centre-back Ryan Tafazolli (Mansfield) have also committed their immediate futures to a League One promotion push.
Tafazolli turned down overtures from a Championship club to join Posh.
McCann said: “Callum has been my number one target all summer. He was outstanding for us last season. His injury was unfortunate for him and for us. Our season fell away when we lost Callum, Jermaine Anderson and Conor Washington in quick succession.
“Two good players for every position is my aim and I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from the chairman towards this ambition.
“For the last couple of seasons we struggled as soon as we lost two or three key players. Next season I want us to be able to cover for injuries and suspensions.
“It was important we improved our defensive strength and we’ve already done that.
“I monitored both Andrew and Ryan for a few months and when I realised they would not be signing new contracts at their clubs I moved in. Andrew was very good in the second half of last season, while Ryan will improve us in both penalty areas.
“We need to do better at set pieces and Ryan was a regular goal-scorer for Mansfield last season. I spoke to him over the weekend and he told me he was going to speak to a Championship club, but he then rang me back and said he wanted to sign for us without speaking to anyone else. That was good to hear.”
McCann also appointed former Derby and Coventry Under 21s coach Lee Glover as his assistant manager yesterday. Glover’s experience in young dressing rooms is seen as vital by McCann. Ben MacKenzie has also returned to the ABAX Stadium as head of sports science.
McCann added: “It’s important to have an assistant manager who will challenge you and Lee will bring fresh ideas with him. He was virtually Tony Mowbray’s right-hand man at Coventry last season so he knows League One well and his experience with young players will be invaluable.
“I’ve got to know Lee very well in the last couple of years as we’ve been on the same coaching course. He’s worked for some top-class managers.
“I’m pleased Ben has come back as well. When he was here before it was the fittest I’ve ever been as a player. He’s a no-nonsense character who doesn’t tolerate any messing about in his sessions.”
McCann also revealed that goalkeeper Ben Alnwick is close to signing the new three-year contract he has been offered. Fresh contract talks have started with right-back Michael Smith.