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James Beattie signs Stanley deal to end of season

Leam Richardson is sure that the Accrington fans will see the best of James Beattie after he extended his spell with Stanley until the end of the season.

James Beattie

Leam Richardson is sure that the Accrington fans will see the best of James Beattie after he extended his spell with Stanley until the end of the season.

The 34-year-old’s original deal was up this week but Richardson has been keen to keep his former Blackburn team-mate at the Crown Ground.

The former England international has scored four goals since his arrival at Accrington in November and is getting used to being a regular after making just two starts for Sheffield United last season.

"I think we have seen glimpses of what he can do but I would say his best is still to come," said Richardson, with Beattie holding a player/coach role at the Crown Ground.

"He works hard even when we aren’t getting the results, he has great application and work ethic and has shown his quality with some of the goals. He is a big influence around the ground and in the dressing room and he is a big help to myself.

"Even while he has been with us, he has had offers from League One and League Two clubs and deals from abroad with some great packages to go and play for them but it’s great to have loyalty in football.

"He has openly said he enjoys being involved here and wants to be part of something which is new and exciting.

"I have had a couple of conversations with James and it is a big one for him as his family have moved to Southampton.

"But he has said he wants to stay, I want him to and the lads are taking advice from him and learning from him. He also helps to attract other players to the club which is another bonus."

Richardson has said he has been eagerly scouring the transfer market as he looks to boost his squad.

He is trying to get some of the fringe players out to get games while adding more experience to the Stanley squad.

He already has brought in Nicky Hunt on a month’s loan– he missed Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Dagenham with back spasms but is expected to be fit for Saturday’s clash at Aldershot.

And Laurie Wilson has come in on a permanent deal until the end of the season.

"Laurie was unlucky on Satuday," said Richardson. "He is a left-back but he had to play on the right – we have got lads who will play anywhere but sadly for Laurie he couldn’t get off to a winning start for us.

"But he is a quality player throughout this league, has always done well and I expect him to be the same for us.

"We need two or three more players before the end of January – loan deals or permanent ones – and then we will assess it again.

"Obviously we need to get some of the current players out playing games; they need them, and then we need to bring in quality players. We won’t bring in players for the sake of it.

"On loan so far we have had experienced players like Rob Atkinson – who is now captain of Fleetwood – and now Nicky Hunt and we need more like that."

The big dilemma at the moment is with goalkeepers with Richardson going from no fit professionals on the books – with scholar Andrew Dawber expected to sign a pro deal this month – to two loan players wanting to stay with the Reds.

Leeds’ Paul Rachubka and Bury’s Cameron Belford are keen to stay following Ian Dunbavin’s long-term injury and Richardson was in talks with both of them as the Observer went to press.

"It’s a compliment to the club that both want to stay here," said Richardson. "Both have done really well, they are good professionals and are smashing lads.

"It is a hard decision as we can only keep one but both have been great for us."

It’s been an up and down start to 2013 for the 19th-placed Reds with the high of a New Year’s Day win over Chesterfield followed up with a disappointing home loss to Dagenham.

But while Richardson – who took over in his first management role in November – still has the means to change it, he remains positive.

He said: "To be honest, the hardest part for me was over Christmas; the transfer window was closed, we had injuries, we hadn’t the scope to do anything and it was really hard.

"We could identify issues where we needed to be better but my hands were tied.

"I do not feel I have had the chance to put my stamp on it yet but hopefully, over the next few weeks, I can start bringing the players I want in and, if we play with the hunger and desire we have shown in most of the matches, then we should start getting the results."

Richardson hasn’t yet officially appointed an assistant but has said he may bring in an experienced coach in the next few weeks to help him.

"But the focus is more on his playing staff as he looks to move the Reds up the League Two table especially with just 10 points separating sixth and 19th.

"I think there are 16 or 17 managers – me included – thinking that their team is a couple of wins away from putting a good run together and are trying to do just that," he said.

And that good run whill hopefully start at Aldershot tomorrow, who lie 21st but have played less games as they are in the FA¿Cup fourth round.

"I know their manager Dean Holdsworth from my time at Bolton," said Richardson. "It will be good to see him although it is a tough place to go."

Richardson is likely to be without seven-goal scorer Padraig Amond, who is struggling with a groin strain, but Hunt and Marcus Carver should be fit.

 
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