ALAN Martin is used to upsetting the odds - and he is hoping to do so again after joining Stanley.
The Scotland under-19 international goalkeeper played a key role in non-league Barrow’s run to the FA Cup third round last season.
Now he aims to help Stanley confound the bookmakers, who have made them favourites for relegation from League Two this season.
Martin, 20, has arrived at the Crown Ground on loan from Leeds, will stay until January and is aiming to get plenty of first-team experience under his belt.
The young keeper is behind Casper Ankergren and Shane Higgs in the pecking order at Elland Road, and so Leeds boss Simon Grayson was keen to get him out on loan again.
And if his stay at Accrington is as successful as his stint at Barrow, the keeper will be more than happy.
Ask him to recall the highlights of last season’s FA Cup run with the Bluebirds, and he can’t help but raise a smile.
"Oh, it was fantastic," he said. "When I went there, I wasn’t expecting it.
"But we played against Brentford on live TV in the second round and won, which was great to be a part of.
"And then, of course, we went to play at Middlesbrough in the third round.
"The Riverside was the first Premier League ground I’d played at - although, of course, they’ve been relegated since - and it was phenomenal. As soon as you walk in, you see what a great place it is.
"I think there were 26,000 there, and it was unbelievable. And that’s what you want to be when you’re a football player. You want to play at the highest level, and it’s always a stepping stone to get there.
"It’s great to play in the big stadiums. And in League Two, there are a lot of big stadiums to go and play at, so I hope I’ll be involved."
Martin is taking something of a step into the unknown by joining Accrington, as he has yet to play a Football League game.
He knows he is joining a team tipped for relegation by many so-called experts - but that doesn’t worry him.
"It doesn’t matter what the bookies say or what anybody says. If the 11 players on the pitch and the squad in general train well and get on well together, then they can pull off results. It doesn’t matter who are favourites. If you do well, you get results and you climb the table."
Martin got off to a losing start at Stanley, making his debut last Friday as they lost 3-0 at home to a Blackburn Rovers XI.
Nonetheless, he saw plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
He said: "It was only my second game of pre-season. I’d only played one with Leeds, and then that was my second game. I didn’t feel 100 per cent but I thought it was a good test.
"Obviously, there were good parts of the game, which was a positive for me. The defence looked good as well, so I hope it will be a good season.
"It’s great to be here. Obviously, it’s league football but I’m glad to be here. I think I get on really well with the boys.
"These boys have got a bit of character, so I’m glad to be here."
Stanley boss John Coleman does have the scope to extend Martin’s loan if all goes well, and the keeper is keen to make an impression.
He added: "We’ll see what happens. If I do well in the first six months, then I think there’s the possibility of staying on until the end of the season.
"But I just want to do well for the first six months and keep my place in the team."