We take a look at Accrington Stanley...
After a torrid start to their season, which saw Accrington, under the guidance of James Beattie, fail to win a league game until October 22nd, when they beat Bristol Rovers 21, 15th proved to be a very respectable finish. Stanley’s form picked up, and since that first win, their form would’ve put them in with a play-off shout. Two wins to end the season helped lift them well clear of the relegation places.
James Beattie enjoyed his first season as manager with Stanley, having taken over in the summer of 2013. Despite the difficult start, the club stood by him and they got their rewards as Beattie guided Stanley well clear of the drop. The young manager, who featured for England during his playing career, was linked with Oxford United at one stage.
THE MEN TO WATCH
Kal Naismith finished as the club’s top goalscorer with ten to his name. Playing just behind the striker, the former Rangers youngster impressed on trial, and then had an excellent season for Stanley.
Experienced defender Nicky Hunt joined Stanley following a successful loan spell from Rotherham United. His experience, in amongst a young Stanley side, was important last season.
Skipper Luke Joyce has made over 200 league appearances for Stanley since joining in 2009. The midfielder plays an important role in breaking up the play of other teams under Beattie’s style of play.
WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR
Four players were released at the end of the season, with veteran striker Danny Webber one of those departing. Laurence Wilson, Luke Clark and George Miller also left the club.
James Beattie has gained his UEFA B coaching licence. Meaning the club avoided a £15,000 fine.
Blues just edge the head to head record, with five wins from the 11 meetings so far. There have been four draws, and three wins for Stanley.
Last season, it ended 1-1 at the Crown Ground, and Blues won 1-0 at Roots Hall.