BURY are close to wrapping up a deal to sign Mansfield Town midfielder Stephen Dawson.

Alan Knill targeted the Stags ball-winner as a replacement for Oldham-bound Dale Stephens and the club hope to have a deal wrapped up by the time he returns from a break in Colorado next week.

Dawson has been offered a deal to stay at Field Mill for another season following the Stags’ relegation to the Blue Square Premier but is believed to want to remain in the Football League.

Shakers director Ian Harrop confirmed that contact had been made with the former Leicester City youth product.

“Stephen is one of a number of players we are currently in negotiation with,” he said. “Hopefully, the deal will be concluded shortly.”

Dawson was spotted playing for Porthmarnock in Ireland and spent three years with the Foxes without breaking through to the first team.

He opted to turn down another season at the Walkers Stadium to sign for Mansfield, where he made 114 appearances in three seasons, scoring 14 goals.

But because he graduated through Leicester’s academy system, the Shakers will not be required to pay a fee for his services this summer.

On the international front, Dawson has played for the Republic of Ireland under-21s, earning his first call-up in 2004 against France and has also represented his country at under-17, 18 and 19 levels.

Back at Gigg Lane, Dave Buchanan, Glynn Hurst, Cameron Belford and Brian Barry-Murphy are expected to sign new deals with the club over the next seven days.

That leaves only winger Nicky Adams undecided on his future, which is likely to remain the case until the end of June, according to Harrop.

“We’re hopeful that three or four of the players out of contract will come in to finalise their deals this week,” he said.

“It’s slow going at this time of year because of holidays, and there are still a few odd little things to iron out with some, but there should be some movement on that front soon.

“Nicky has used his prerogative to wait until the end of the month before making a decision on what he wants to do.

“He is quite entitled to do that, and we should have more information over the next few weeks.”

The club are also pressing for a tribunal for Oldham-bound Dale Stephens, who turned down a new contract in favour of the League One side.

“Oldham have offered us a cash figure which was not acceptable and would prefer not to go to tribunal,” Harrop said. “We want the mater resolved as quickly as possible.”