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Evil returns

ACCRINGTON Stanley's ret-urning striker Lee McEvilly insists he is in goal-getting mood.

RE-CAPTURED . .. Stanley’s new signing Lee McEvilly in Scotland

ACCRINGTON Stanley's ret-urning striker Lee McEvilly insists he is in goal-getting mood.

The 25-year-old is in his second spell with the Reds after leaving two years ago to link up with League Two side Wrexham.

His contract with the Welsh side was cancelled by mutual consent one year into a two year deal last week and he re-signed for Stanley on Monday.

"I am pleased to be back," said McEvilly. "I have been speaking to the gaffer (John Coleman) and Jimmy (Bell) quite a bit because they are mates but it isn't because we are mates that I am back - I am not here to mess about.

"I want to play football and be part of a successful team."

The hitman orginally came on loan to the Reds from Rochdale in January 2004 before signing permanently in the summer.

He forged a strong partnership with Paul Mullin in the Reds' second season in the Conference, scoring 23 goals in all competitions, but left after one season for a five figure fee.

"It was good for both parties at the time," said McEvilly, nicknamed "Evil".

"I wanted to try and play at a higher level and, after signing for nothing, Accrington got a bit of business out of me so it did work out well."

But he was troubled with injuries at the Racecourse Ground - he broke his foot twice in the same place in the space of four months - which scuppered a move to then League One side Bradford City.

But he still had a good return of 16 goals in 36 starts with the Dragons - and he scored eight last season as Wrexham battled with Stanley to stay in League Two.

"It worked out at Wrexham initially and then I had a few bad injuries but they are all behind me now. We parted company on good terms," said the former Burscough man.

"I did score a few goals for them but the past doesn't count now. I don't want to talk about Wrexham. All I want to talk about is what we will do this season and what we can achieve.

"I am back here because I feel I have unfinished business. I played well for a year here and I want to do the same again.

"There have been quite a few changes but I know most of the lads and they know me and they are a good bunch."

He admits his biggest battle for the moment is getting match-fit.

"It has been an up and down pre-season for me so far. I have been messed about with days off here and there and it is just nice now to have three weeks consistent training. I will be ready to go by August 11 - I am determined."

He does face a tough test as the fight is on for the Reds starting line-up. Manager Coleman has a wealth of strikers at his disposal in Mullin, Roscoe Dsane, Leighton McGivern, Rommy Boco, John Miles, David Brown and now McEvilly.

"I am not worried - there were nine strikers at Wrexham so it doesn't really bother me," said McEvilly who has one Northern Ireland cap.

"It is good to have competition as it can be a kick up the backside and keep you on your toes.

"I enjoyed playing alongside Mullers last time I was here. I think we got 50 goals between us in all competitions and if we can get 30 between us or more this season, then we will be looking good."

Coleman is pleased to have the bustling forward back in his squad.

"He did well when he was here last time and he had the opportunity to go into the Football League. We got a few bob for him so it was a win-win situation for everybody," said the Reds boss.

"He had a couple of injuries and things haven't quite worked out for him at Wrexham. I watched him three or four times towards the back end of last season and Lee was nowhere near back to his normal fitness or levels he would like to be at.

"But he was still a handful and played a major part in Wrexham staying up.

"He is not in bad shape now and if we can get him a little bit sharper he will be a great asset to us."

And the Reds chief knows he will have a big headache choosing his front pairing for the new season.

"We have got a lot of talent up front and, if we have got that, it can only make the others play better," he said.

"They are all different types of strikers. Paul Mullin is good at leading the line and is intelligent in his link-up play. Lee (McEvilly) is a bit more crash-bang-whallop. Leighton is good with his back to goal, at twisting and turning and has a great eye for a pass and a shot.

"Roscoe can play off the back man, he is also good at link up play and has awareness around the box.

"Rommy adds another dimension up front with his touch and his eagerness to get beyond people.

"David Brown also has great awareness and John Miles gives us another option.

"Saying that, I do class David Brown more as a central midfielder now and Milesy more of a wideman."

  • STANLEY will travel to NWCL Division One side Squires Gate on Wednesday, 1 August, kick-off 7.30pm.
  • ACCRINGTON-born Chris Grimshaw got the most votes for the top Stanley player over the last century in the competition organised by the Professional Footballers Association.
 

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