ACCRINGTON Stanley are set to sign Adam Buxton on a permanent basis after their first pre-season friendly at New Mills on Tuesday night.
Buxton impressed while on loan with the Reds last term before being released by Wigan at the end of the season.
The 22-year-old had tried to earn a deal with Hibernian and played in a friendly for the Scottish side last week.
But after hearing they’d dropped their interest, Stanley boss James Beattie was quick to get Buxton back in for pre-season training with the Reds.
The full-back, who can play on either side of defence and even started one game in midfield for Stanley, then played the first half against New Mills before all 10 outfield players were replaced by Beattie at half-time.
Keeper Cameron Belford was the only man to play 90 minutes in the 5-2 victory as he also aims to earn a contract.
Beattie fielded all his first-team players while Brett Ormerod played the second half, along with fellow trialists Ben Heneghan, Callum Morris, Charlie Beverley and Michael Clunan.
Of those, midfielder Clunan looked the most impressive. The 20-year-old came through the youth ranks at Norwich before finishing last season with Histon in the Conference North.
Kal Naismith converted an early penalty and although the hosts drew level, a Marcus Carver header and Naismith’s second gave Stanley a 3-1 lead at half-time.
New Mills, who play four levels below the Reds, pulled one back just after the break but George Bowerman’s cool finish and a Will Hatfield penalty rounded off a satisfactory evening for Stanley.
“I’ve been really pleased with the way the lads have come back in,” said Beattie. “They look fit and were really good in the first week of training. We’ve been down at Champneys Springs in Leicestershire this week and they’ve looked really good.
“This was the first opportunity to get some game time under their belts and we switched it up with a few lads who are in training with us.
“We had two different XIs in the first half and the second just to give everybody a share of the game and to have a look at the lads who are in training with us and I was very pleased with the way the lads played their first game of football.”
Stanley continue their pre-season campaign with a trip to Nelson tomorrow (Saturday) before Blackburn visit the Store First Stadium next Wednesday.
Beattie came through Rovers’ youth set-up before making his name at Southampton and hopes to catch up with Stanley youth product Connor Mahoney, who earned a dream move to Ewood Park back in December.
“It was the first friendly on the list,” said the Reds’ boss. “When we sold Connor to Blackburn it was one of the things that was mentioned as part of the deal and they’ve stood by it.
“I’ve spoken to Gary (Bowyer) and he’s going to bring a strong squad so I’m looking forward to it immensely, being a Blackburn lad myself.”
Stanley now have a total of six friendlies in their pre-season schedule having arranged a home game against Chorley.
Garry Flitcroft led the Magpies to the Evo-Stik Premier title last term and brings his side to Accrington on Friday, August 1, eight days before the League 2 kick-off at home to Southend.