Barnsley are hopeful of signing Manchester United youngsters Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell before the weekend.
The Star can exclusively reveal the Reds are in talks with United to sign both midfielders on loan in readiness for the start of the new season.
However, Reds boss Lee Johnson has ruled out a move for Glentoran midfielder Jordan Stewart.
Stewart was heavily rumoured to be one of the Reds’ summer targets, but Johnson revealed: “We’ve got no interest at all in him [Stewart]. We’ve not made any offer for him.”
United aces Pearson and Rothwell are both highly-rated, with Oldham-born Pearson already familiar to Barnsley supporters having spent much of last season on loan at Oakwell.
The 20-year-old played 21 times for the Reds last term and, due to some impressive performances, it is understood the player attracted interest from a number of other clubs, including some at Championship level.
But The Star understands Pearson has agreed to re-join the Reds having agreed a verbal agreement with the club, with fellow midfielder Rothwell also set to join him, both on one-month loan deals.
Pearson joined the Reds on an initial one-month loan deal in January last season which was extended to a season long loan.
Meanwhile, Rothwell, also 20, played three loan games for Blackpool and has represented England at various youth levels like his good friend Pearson. The pair have played alongside each other on numerous occasions at United and could be thrown straight in at the deep end if deals are sorted with the Reds.
Star midfielder Conor Hourihane is a major doubt for the start of the season with a medial knee injury, while midfielder Milan Lalkovic left the club yesterday when he re-signed for his former club Walsall on a one-year deal.
The arrival of Pearson and Rothwell would widely be welcomed at Oakwell, with Johnson having admitted his squad is “short of numbers”.
Johnson added: “It’s important not to panic, but I’ll be throwing my toys out of the pram if I don’t get in at least two more players before the start of the season.”
“We’ve got another 7-10 days to get in another two players and then hopefully another two after that.
“It’s quality I’m after rather than quantity, but we are short of numbers at the moment.”