HITMAN Billy Kee announced his Accrington Stanley arrival with a hat-trick – and now can’t wait to score his first league goal.
The 18-year-old burly striker has signed a six-month deal from Leicester City and showed his scoring prowess in Tuesday’s 5-0 defeat of UniBond side Radcliffe Borough.
Ex-Lincoln striker Gary King is also set to be offered some kind of Reds’ deal while ex-Rochdale goalkeeper Sam Russell has also impressed.
But it’s teenager Kee, a strong, busy centre forward, who has stolen the headlines, living up to his pre-match billing after scoring 44 goals in 42 games for Leicester’s Academy team.
Accrington had to hold off a host of other clubs, including Bradford and Cheltenham, to sign the highly-rated youngster.
"I wanted to come to Accrington," said Northern Ireland Under 19 captain Kee. "I have been at Leicester for five years and I wanted to get away and have a fresh start somewhere.
"I scored around 50 goals in two seasons after a bad injury at Leicester but I asked Leicester for a move as I wanted first team football. It’s hard to break into the first team at 18 at a club like Leicester so I wanted to come somewhere and get some experience.
"There were a few interested but I wanted to come to Accrington. I think one of our coaches, Gerry Taggart, had been on a UEFA course with John Coleman recently and he said it would be right up my street
"I was meant to come on August 1 as that’s when my contract should start but I wanted to come sooner, meet the lads and train with them, and asked Leicester if they would let me go,
"I am really looking forward to it now and I hope I can make my mark. The hat-trick against Radcliffe has boosted my confidence, especially as I travelled down on the day and only got to know one of my team-mates’ names!
"I didn’t know a lot about Accrington before I came except the old milk advert but I love playing football and now I want to help push Accrington up the table maybe towards the play-offs or even automatic promotion."
Youngster Kee is hoping to use Paul Mullin’s experience to get goals when they count after playing up front with him in the friendly.
"I can’t wait for my first league goals and hopefully he (Paul) can win things in the air and I can take a gamble off him and push on. I just like scoring goals whichever way they come."
Coleman said: "Billy has shown a great attitude and an awareness in the box and attacked the ball. He took all his goals well against Radcliffe and they were all different.
"We have a few contacts at Leicester and they have realised both me and Jimmy (Bell) are strikers and have got the tools to make him a better striker and we will work on him.
"At 18, to play in the league is a big thing but he seems to have a wise head on his shoulders and will take on board what we are trying to do."
Coleman also confirmed: "We will be offering Gary (King) a deal, I am not sure what it is yet but we will be offering him something.
"He has done well for us with two goals and played a great ball to set up Billy for the first at Radcliffe. The more he trains with us the stronger he will get."
Defender Darran Kempson, who has been on loan with the Reds twice, has now also signed up to a one-year deal.
"Darran is a great lad with a good attitude, he works hard and is a good footballer," continued Coleman.
"He has been on our radar for a while as we tried to sign him last year."
And goalie Russell could also be snapped up after playing against Boro and not doing a lot wrong. He was released at the end of the season as Rochdale signed Reds goalie Kenny Arthur.
"Sam is a decent keeper with a lot of experience and we will be chatting with him," said Coleman.
"The goalkeeper situation is possibly the only one we have got to get sorted quickly. Ian Dunbavin did well in a friendly against Heswall on Monday and I want to have two quality keepers competing at the club. There will not be a number one or two but both will fight for the place."
Coleman hasn’t ruled out additions to his team before the big kick off on August 8.
"Kieran Charnock is still on our radar while Chris King and Peter Cavanagh’s contract have also to be sorted out."
Chris King is still in negotiations while captain Cavanagh has to wait until his future is sorted out with the betting scandal. His case will be heard before the Football Association on August 7, where he is pleading not guilty.
And, with a free weekend, Coleman is looking ahead to next Tuesday’s all-ticket friendly clash with Premier new boys Burnley.
Ex-Claret Chris Turner has admitted he can’t wait to face his old club while John Mullin is another former Burnley player.
"Hopefully a good crowd will come and we can put on a good display and it will be money in the coffers to start the season in a positive note," added Coleman. "Owen Coyle usually brings a decent team and it will be a good test for us although it is all part of the getting us right for August 8."
* EX-RED Ian Craney has signed on a season-long loan at League Two rivals Morecambe from Huddersfield.
* STANLEY’S pre-season clash with Premier League side Burnley next Tuesday (ko 7.30pm) is all-ticket. Tickets are available from the club at £10 for adults and £5 concessions. A bumper crowd is expected for the match against the top flight new boys.