ACCRINGTON Stanley's top scorer Ian Craney would like nothing better than to add to his goalscoring tally against his former club.
The midfielder left Altrincham in June 2004 in a £15,000 deal and the two sides square up to each other at the Interlink tomorrow (Sat) with the Reds looking for their fifth successive win.
Second placed Stanley beat the Robins 1-0 earlier in the season and seven-goal Craney admits he will relish the clash.
"I always look forward to playing against my former clubs, I think every footballer does, and you always want to score against them," said Craney.
"I have a lot of respect for their manager, Graham Heathcote and his assistant and the players at Altrincham. I still know quite a few like Pete Band, Rod Thornley and Gary Scott and have had a few phone calls this week!
"To be honest, they deserved to get at least something out of the game when we played them earlier in the season. We let ourselves down and we have now got a point to prove."
Heathcote has been full of praise for his former midfielder: "I have seen that he is scoring for fun but he can play at a higher level," said the Altrincham boss.
The two sides will meet again in quick succession after being drawn together in the FA Trophy on Saturday 17 December but Craney knows which of the two games is most important to him.
"I would prefer the three points. We want to win them both but I would take the win in the league first."
Craney grabbed goal number seven, after failing to find the back of the net for four league games, in the 4-0 victory over Southport on Saturday - Stanley's biggest league win of the season.
The victory almost moved the Reds into top spot until leaders Grays scored a late winner.
"I always enjoy scoring and it will be good to carry on, especially at home as we have been doing so well at home," said the midfielder who is targeting 15 goals in this campaign.
Stanley have made the Interlink a fortress and they will be hot favourites to win tomorrow against the struggling part-timers. Of their 10 league clashes at home, Stanley have won eight while, of Altrincham's nine away games, they have lost six and won just once.
And Craney has no doubts that his side can carry on their thrilling start to the season thanks to the team-spirit and the belief which is now in the side.
"Hopefully we will keep our run going as there is an air about the lads, it is not cockiness, but they are oozing with confidence.
"They are really hungry for every win and I haven't seen this in the two seasons I have been here. There is something different about us this season.
"There are so many good players at the club and a good competition for places.
"You only have to look at Boco. He came on against Forest Green and did well and then got his chance to start and it was a great first full game for him. He is settling in well and learning his English fast from the scousers!
"And then on the bench there is the likes of Browny (David Brown), Cav (Peter Cavanagh), Andy Mangan and Danny Ventre - who have all played a part in the first team this season. And our recent signing Mark Smyth looks like a good player . I don't think we have ever had such a strong bench and we are all pulling together."
While Craney thinks Stanley can stay the distance and fulfil their ultimate dream of returning to the Football League, he is surprised others aren't following suit.
"We were looking at the odds for the title the other day and while people are tipping Grays, as expected, Hereford and Stevenage and teams like that are still above us as favourites to win the title despite us being in second place," said the midfielder.
"People don't seem to have faith in us but we have faith in ourselves and hopefully we will prove them all wrong."
Craney, who earned his fifth England cap against Belgium last month and was captain for the last few minutes, has been delighted with his form this season - but is wary.
"Last year I played every game up to Christmas and then, in January, I lost my place and was in and out of the squad. But hopefully I will keep scoring and keep my place next year.
"But there is just this confidence and belief at the moment. It is a great place to be."
Manager John Coleman will find it hard to change the outfield players in his winning side but the Reds will have a new face in their squad tomorrow.
Keeper Robert Elliot, from Charlton Athletic, linked up with his new team-mates yesterday (Thurs) and is on loan with Stanley until the end of December as Darren Randolph has returned to the Premiership side - at least until January.
And there will be a familiar face in the Robins squad as, although former Stanley players Lutel James and Gary Williams have left, ex-Reds left back Chris Butler is at Moss Lane.