We take a look at James Beattie's Accrington Stanley as part of our League 2 preview ahead of the new season.
Over the course of the next two weeks we’ll be taking a look at the 23 teams we will come up against in League 2 during the 2013/14 season. Fixtures for the new campaign will be released on June 19th.
First up, we take a look at Accrington Stanley:
Stanley were founded in 1968, reforming after the collapse of the original Accrington Stanley. The club have been playing at the Crown Ground since 1970 as Stanley climbed through the non-league pyramid, eventually winning promotion from the Conference in 2006, under the leadership of then-boss, John Coleman. The 2010-11 season was the most successful in the Lancashire side’s history as they finished fifth in League 2, losing to Stevenage in the play-off semi-finals.
Stanley have recently appointed former England striker James Beattie as the manager after Leam Richardson decided to join Chesterfield as an assistant to Paul Cook. Beattie’s playing career was very successful; a spell at Southampton saw Beattie score 68 goals in 204 games on the south coast which prompted Everton to sign him for a fee of £6 million. Beattie later played for Sheffield United, Stoke City, Rangers and Blackpool before joining Accrington in November 2012 in a player/coach capacity.
Beattie will be looking at the experienced Francis Jeffers to play his part in 2013-14. Jeffers, a former Arsenal man, will hope to feature regularly after joining the club at the back end of last season. Captaining the side will be Dean Winnard. The 23 year-old has made over 150 appearances for the club since arriving in 2009. Romauld Boco is in his second spell at Stanley after re-signing in 2012. The Benin international first joined in 2005, spending three years at the Crown Ground before heading to Ireland to sign for Sligo Rovers. In goal for Stanley will be Ian Dunbavin. The 33 year-old Scouser began his career at Liverpool, playing in the same youth sides as current England captain Steven Gerrard before having spells at Shrewsbury Town, Morecambe and Halifax Town. Signed for Stanley in 2006 and has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the club.
A goalscoring defender, Lee Molyneux came through the youth ranks at Everton before joining Southampton for a season in 2009. He headed to Plymouth for a solitary campaign in 2010 before joining Stanley two years later in August 2012. Molyneux scored nine goals in 43 games and can regularly be seen rampaging down the left hand side. He scored a hat-trick against Barnet at the back end of last season, a vital win for Stanley as they survived the drop.
The club finished three points off 23rd place in League 2. Eventually finishing in 18th place as the scrap for relegation went down to the last day. Highs included beating AFC Wimbledon 4-0 and winning 2-0 against Port Vale, a team that won promotion to League 1 at the end of the campaign.
The biggest change has been in management with Leam Richardson teaming up with old Stanley boss Paul Cook at Chesterfield, James Beattie has now taken up the reigns at the Crown Ground.
Charlie Barnett, Aidan Chippendale, Bohan Dixon and Tom Eckersley were released at the start of May.
BLUES vs. ACCRINGTON 2012/13:
Home: Blues 0-1 Accrington
Blues played Accrington at Roots Hall for the second game of the season, with Accrington taking the three points back to Lancashire after Karl Sheppard’s goal in the 61st minute. Despite having 20 shots, Blues couldn’t find a way past a resolute Stanley defence.
Blues: Belford, Clohessy, Phillips, Prosser, Leonard (Harris, 77), Barker, Hall, Timlin, Ferdinand (Spicer, 73), Assombalonga (Cresswell, 72), Tomlin
Unused: Bentley, Straker, Hurst, Benyon
Away: Accrington 1-1 Blues
The two sides last met on 9th February and played out a 1-1 draw at the Crown Ground. James Gray gave Accrington the lead in the 58th minute. Ryan Cresswell was sent off , before Kevan Hurst equalised for Blues with just eight minutes remaining.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Straker, Spillane, Cresswell, Phillips, Leonard (Corr, 46), Reeves (Lavery, 70), Hurst, Laird, Assombalonga (Woodyard, 87)
Unused subs: Bentley, Spicer
Accrington are 12/1 to win promotion this coming season.