STANLEY are hoping to hold on to star duo Colby Bishop and Dion Charles beyond tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline.

The Reds begin their Papa John’s Trophy campaign at home to Barrow tonight but the main focus will be on the futures of Bishop and Charles.

Peterborough United have, according to reports, made their move for Bishop who has netted 25 goals for the club since signing from non-league outfit Leamington in 2019.

Charles has also courted interest from a host of Championship clubs, but is currently away on international duty with Northern Ireland, meaning the striker, who scored 20 times last season, is unavailable for tonight’s Trophy game.

Stanley have already lost defender Cameron Burgess to Ipswich Town in a six-figure deal and manager John Coleman is concerned about the prospect of more departures before the deadline.

Coleman is still on the look-out for signings himself, with moves for an attacking midfielder and striker being worked on having strengthened in defence last week with the signing of Mitchell Clark.

He was signing number 16 of the summer, but it is the prospect of further departures that is on the mind of the Stanley boss.

He said: “You gear yourself up for transfer deadline day and it’s amazing how many deals get done on the final day when there are three months to do things but everyone leaves it until the last minute.

“I am looking at the exit door rather than the incoming door, hopefully we will keep all our players in place and we can have a good go this season.

“It is a worry but on the flip side, you want the lads to do well. I would love to see all my players play in the Championship or the Premier League but you can’t let them all go or else you will have no team.

“It’s a balancing act as you have to try and do what’s best for the club and do what’s best for the player and sometimes there are conflicts of interest but you have to deal with it.

“I think we need to add in attack as we are a bit thin on the ground with Joe Hardy out for a length of time and John O’Sullivan out, we are a bit thin on attacking options, and also a midfielder.”

Sam Sherring, signed on loan from Bournemouth earlier in the window, could get a recall in defence, as could Burnley man Joel Mumbongo as Coleman considers rotating his options. He was disappointed with the performance in the Carabao Cup exit at Oldham Athletic last week, losing on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 90 minutes, and following a 2-0 defeat at MK Dons at the weekend he will be looking for a response against the Bluebirds.

Stanley have progressed out of the group stages in each of the last two seasons. The group also includes Leicester City Under-21s and Fleetwood Town.