ALVIN McDonald was poised yesterday to swoop for former Barnsley striker Griff Jones.
The 20-year-old has burst on to the non-league scene with Prescot Cables after being out for 10 months with injury.
McDonald put in seven days notice for the non-contract marksman, who made three first-team appearances while at Oakwell.
The week was 'up' yesterday and the Linnets boss was due to follow up his interest in the Kirkby-based player, who is resurrecting his career after a mass clearout at the Yorkshire club.
McDonald said: 'Paul Hart went from Leeds to Barnsley and bailed the whole of the youth section out.
'Griff Jones was part of that although he was injured at the time.
'He is 5ft 11in, holds the ball up quite well, is quite pacey and has always scored goals in his career with a good goals-per-game ratio.'
McDonald has already added to his squad by signing 18-year-old defender Tyrone Grant, who has been released by Manchester City Academy.
But Runcorn interest in a second City youngster - a left-winger - has been put on hold until the New Year as the player was injured in a Manchester Premier Cup tie against Bolton last week.
New boy Grant would have made his debut at Vauxhall Motors on Boxing Day had the fixture not been frozen off.
McDonald said: 'Tyrone covers that little triangle on the left of defence as he can play in a three, four or at left back.
'We would probably have had to throw him in at the deep end because we would have had four centre-halves out, including Peter Ellis who is long-term and probably not going to play again.
'Tyrone has come through City's youth system - basically, the same side as our keeper Ashley Timms.
'With these lads, you know they are not going to have experience. But they'll have been trained right, coached right and brought up right.
'They are young boys who have talent and, hopefully, we will give them the experience and they will become good players for Runcorn.'
McDonald believes players can benefit from leaving League clubs if their chances are limited. He said: 'Ashley Timms was third-choice goalkeeper at City and all of a sudden he found himself sixth in line without doing anything wrong.
'I think often they just want to play. They are better getting out sometimes rather than staying until they are 21 or 22. By then, they can have wasted three or four years and I don't think they ever recover.'
Boxing Day's postponement was probably a blessing in disguise. But McDonald was unhappy the game wasn't called off until just after 1pm.
Some players had already arrived at Vauxhall's ground in Ellesmere Port and others were en route.
Central defenders Robbie Moore (groin), Ged Nolan (bruised foot) and John Robertson (suspended) would all have been missing in defence alone.
Runcorn would also have been without Tony McMillan - the keeper had been left stranded at home waiting for his lift because of an accident on the M6.
His would-be travelling companions Grant, who is on a one-month trial, and Timms therefore faced the prospect of getting taxis from Manchester.
Fellow new signing Jordan Burke did a U-turn to pick the duo up from Piccadilly Station only to discover, once they were on board, his efforts had been in vain.
While Robertson's one-match ban is carried over to the New Year's Day home game against Vauxhall (ko 3pm), Moore and Nolan are improving.
And McDonald arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly at West Cheshire League club Capenhurst yesterday to fully assess his injury situation.
Midfield man Anton Lally is in the USA for Christmas and New Year but wingbacks Steve Carragher and David Ness have recovered from flu.