JUNIOR MENDES has been handed the perfect incentive to prove his worth to Town next season - by his former manager Keith Curle.
In a parting shot at the 27-year-old striker, the Mansfield boss has insisted former Chelsea trainee Mendes is not worth the wages the McAlpine club have agreed to pay him.
Curle played Mendes in the side beaten on penalties by Town in the Third Division play-off final in Cardiff five weeks ago and offered him a new contract soon after.
"Junior declined his offer," said former England player Curle, who has lost four of the 10 players out of contract after the Millennium Stadium shoot-out setback.
"I could not get anywhere near what Huddersfield have offered him and, no disrespect to the player, if I could have matched it I would not have paid that sort of money."
While Stags striker Liam Lawrence has joined Sunderland, right-back Bobby Hassell Barnsley and midfielder Craig Disley Bristol Rovers, Mendes is set to complete his move to Town after a medical on Monday morning.
Former Chesterfield midfielder Chris Brandon will go through the same process, and the pair will then link up with their new teammates for the first pre-season training session.
They are the only two additions to Peter Jackson's squad for the new Coca-Cola League I campaign, which starts at Stockport five weeks today.
And the manager could well wait until goalkeeper Ian Gray's recovery from a broken hand is fully monitored until making any further moves in the transfer market.
Gray handled a ball for the first time since being injured in the FA Cup defeat at Accrington in November when he made an early return to training on Thursday.
If he suffers a reaction, Jackson could make a fresh move for Paul Rachubka, who played the final 17 matches of the season, including the play-off final, on loan from Charlton.
Rachubka's position at Charlton could have been strengthened by the transfer of another goalkeeper, Sergio Leite, to Town's League I rivals Hull.
First-choice stopper at The Valley is Republic of Ireland star Dean Kiely while ex-Southend man Simon Royce has provided back-up from the bench.
Striker Jon Newby, who agreed settlement on his Town contract this week, has re-joined Bury.