CONNOR Martin has set his sights on forcing his way into first-team contention after earning a short-term deal with Stanley.
The 18-year-old joined the Reds on trial after being captain of Rochdale’s youth team last season.
Manager James Beattie felt Martin had done enough to stay on at the Store First Stadium and the versatile midfielder signed on Tuesday.
“I can’t wait for the season to start now,” he said.
“I’ve been here three or four weeks and they are a great set of lads who I can learn a lot off. They have helped me settle in and I have some great players to compete with.
“The gaffer has obviously played at the highest level and he is there to get advice from.
“I can play in midfield, on the wing or in the hole – wherever the gaffer wants me to be, to be honest!”
Martin is coming straight from youth football into League 2 but is confident he can make the step up and challenge for a starting berth.
“It’s a massive leap as it is a lot quicker, especially with the pace and power, and I will have to adapt,” he said. “I need to bulk up a bit but I will get there.
“I have always wanted to be a footballer and it is hard - at 18 - looking for a club, but Accrington have given me the chance and now I have to work the hardest I can to make the most of it.
“You only have to look at what Connor Mahoney did last season. He played three or four games for Accrington and was snapped up by Blackburn Rovers so you never know what can happen.
“My immediate aim is to try to break into the squad. I am only young but I have got to do everything I can to get in the gaffer’s eyeline in training.”
Beattie added: “This is all about Connor’s development and gives him a chance to continue impressing us in training and on a matchday. He’s a good prospect and this is a chance for him to continue improving.”
Martin was Beattie’s second signing of the week after fellow trialist Luke Simpson signed an initial six-month contract on Monday. The 19-year-old keeper was released by Oldham this summer.
“Everyone’s so happy here and loves being here,” he said. “That’s what I want, I like to have positive people around me.
“The way the team have been playing since I’ve been here has been great.
“I can see a good start to the season hopefully and then we can kick on from there.”