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All eyes on Evil

LEAGUE TWO side Wrexham have swooped for Stanley striker Lee McEvilly.

ON his way... Lee McEvilly is off to the Dragons.

LEAGUE TWO side Wrexham have swooped for Stanley striker Lee McEvilly.

Accrington have accepted an undisclosed sum for the former Rochdale forward after he told the club he wanted to return to the Football League.

The Reds have also incorporated a hefty sell-on clause in the deal that has taken 23-year-old McEvilly to the Racecourse Ground.

"Lee said he wanted to leave and once he had indicated that and it became clear he had no future at Accrington we did our best to get him back into the Football League," said Stanley chairman Eric Whalley.

"Hopefully it will also help him further his international career, which will also give us more money.

"And at the same time we made sure it was also a good deal for ourselves."

McEvilly's move to Wrexham ends the speculation surrounding the Northern Ireland international, whose future at the Interlink had been the subject of debate since the end of last season.

The Liverpool-born striker scored 17 times for Stanley last season - including the winner at Bradford City in the LDV Vans Trophy which Wrexham went on to lift at the Millenium Stadium - after converting a loan deal into a permanent move from Rochdale last summer.

However, with the once-capped frontman stating his desire to look for pastures new, Stanley have opted to cash in to help finance new arrivals this summer.

Wrexham boss Denis Smith has been forced to re-build his side following relegation last season and the departure of Chris Llewellyn to Hartlepool and leading scorer Juan Ugarte to Crewe.

And after signing former Blackburn Rovers youngster Jonathan Walters from Hull City, Smith successfully landed the muscular McEvilly in a deal which was due to be announced yesterday morning.

The departures of McEvilly and Rory Prendergast - assuming Blackpool take up their option to sign the winger who is training at Bloomfield Road - leaves Stanley boss John Coleman with two sizeable holes to fill.

But with Gary Roberts this week agreeing a new deal, Coleman has a ready-made replacement for Prendergast and has lined up a couple of potential alternatives to McEvilly.

As reported in the Observer last week, former Rochdale striker Leighton McGivern, 21, has been given the chance to earn a contract, while ex-Tranmere forward Alex Hay, 23, has also joined the Reds on trial and is expected to play in the up-coming pre-season programme.

They have been joined by ex-Burnley midfielder Matty O'Neill, who had a spell on loan at Stanley last season, and former Manchester United youngster Lee Lawrence.

The 20-year-old left-sided defender failed to make it as far as the first-team at Old Trafford but gained Conference experience at Shrewsbury two seasons ago when he scored twice in eight games in helping the Shrews to promotion via the play-offs.

Coleman is also continuing to sift through a list of potential goalkeeping targets to replace Jon Kennedy, who has signed for Witton Albion, where he had a brief spell on loan last season before being released by Stanley.

Meanwhile, left-back Chris Butler has agreed a new deal after an impressive first season with the Reds, who play their opening pre-season friendly at Radcliffe Borough next Thursday night.

 
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