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Stanley mad over Batty

ACCRINGTON Stanley are hoping to persuade former England midfielder David Batty to join them before he moves on to Harrogate Town.


ACCRINGTON Stanley are hoping to persuade former England midfielder David Batty to join them before he moves on to Harrogate Town.

The 34-year-old Leeds star is set to end his career at the UniBond Premier League team. But Reds boss John Coleman is keen to hijack the deal and wants the former Blackburn player at the Interlink Express Stadium first.

"I will be making an inquiry. If he wants to come to a non-League club then we are definitely interested and will make it known," said the Reds chief.

Batty has one year left on his contract at Elland Road and former Leeds chairman Bill Fotherby, now at Harrogate, is confident he will get his man even if he has to wait.

He said: "I have known David a long time, he is a smashing lad. He is a Premiership footballer and I don't know how long it will take but we will be waiting for him."

Fotherby wants to link Batty with former Rovers team-mate Mark Atkins at Wetherby Road. Stanley chairman Eric Whalley said: "Obviously he is someone we would like here."

Meanwhile, Stanley's immediate plans are to snap up a goalkeeper. The Iranian international will not feature and former Blackburn trainee Michael Bingham has gone to Southport.

This leaves the Reds without a challenger for Jamie Speare's spot although Coleman hopes to have someone new on show tomorrow at home to Rochdale (ko 3pm).

"I have one or two irons in the fire and have keepers both from League and non-League clubs interested. I hope to have one playing for at least a half tomorrow."

Stanley will come up against their one-time target Lee McEvilly who Coleman was eager to sign from Burscough for £10,000 18 months ago.

Instead he was snapped up by Rochdale and has scored some important goals in the Third Division and picked up a Northern Ireland cap.

"He is a good lad and has done well there. I am still keeping my eye on him though! Saying that, it is always hard for any strikers to come here as I have been lucky enough to have two really good frontmen in Lutel James and Paul Mullin. Whichever strikers we sign have to be patient as those two have made is difficult for anyone else to break through."

Reds chairman Whalley has promised at least two new signings before the season kicks off - but they won't be big-money buys.

"There are now around 800 players out of work, it is increasing all the time, and we won't pay for anybody before the start of the season," said Whalley.

Meanwhile, Reds manager Coleman has been impressed with what he has seen so far in the build up to the first Conference clash.

Sunday's 3-2 win over Radcliffe Borough and Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to Second Division Blackpool has given him a chance to have a look at the new boys - and try out new formations.

Trialists include Andrew Waine, a youngster who was at Burnley last season, and former Red Martin Clarke.

Coleman said: "It is difficult for the lads to come in and just play one half but now I am looking forward to assessing them in full games. Then I will have more of an idea of whether they will fit in here. I expect a good game against Rochdale. Against Blackpool, neither of the sides held back and I expect the same again.

"We are improving with every friendly and I have been pleased with what I have seen so far. Gordon (Armstrong) did well for us against Blackpool. He is settling in. And I knew we would get the best from Rory Prendergast this season. He has done really well on the wing and I just hope it continues."

Ex-Claret Paul Cook hopes to shake off a niggle and be back for the Burnley game at Stanley on Wednesday 30 July.

  • Stanley have a friendly next Thursday at Marine (ko 7.45pm).


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