JOHN Coleman believes second summer signing Julien N'Da will be a big influence in Accrington Stanley's Football League campaign.
The 20-year-old Ivory Coast Under 21 international signed up on Wednesday for Stanley's first campaign back in the Football League for 44 years.
N'Da, a former Niort and Rouen utility man, came on trial for the Reds in a post-season match against Clitheroe, impressed the management and fans but Reds chief Coleman has also been watching videos of the player and liked what he saw.
"He will strengthen the squad and he can play a number of positions and he will be a good asset," said the Reds' chief.
"He can also play in midfield and we wanted someone who could handle the ball well and he can do that.
"He can only speak French at the moment but Rommy (Boco) was the same and he wasn't a problem so I am sure he will settle in well.
"I have been looking to strengthen the defence for a while and, with him being an international, he won't be fazed by the big games which we should have quite a few of next season."
N'Da is a friend of Benin international Boco's from his time at Niort.
Winger Andy Todd has also signed for the club after being on loan last season and it means Stanley now have Gary Roberts, Todd and their first summer signing Sean Doherty competing for the wing slots.
"I have wanted to have three wingers," said Coleman. "If you have two you can become too reliant on them and so to have three gives me a choice, and the best two will play. It means there is competition for places and I will pick the best two on any given day.
"Andy did well last season and he is moving closer to Accrington so he won't be travelling, like he was from Nottingham last season. This is something we are looking at - at having players living closer to Accrington and not travelling as far."
Defender Michael Welch has been offered a deal and the manager will speak to him this week to, hopefully, finalise his contract.
And Coleman hopes to have the deal to bring Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot on a season-long loan wrapped up soon despite the change of manager at the Valley with Iain Dowie becoming the new boss this week.
"We have an agreement with the Charlton chief executive so that is something again we will be sorting out as soon as possible," added the boss.
Coleman is on holiday for the next few weeks and so he is bidding to finalise as many deals as possible before he goes away.
"I want to get everything settled then I can go away and relax as I won't have a lot of time when I come back before we are straight into pre-season at the end of June and then the friendly games start.
"I want to get as much sorted as possible then I can have a total break and come back refreshed."
The manager is though still chasing a striker and a midfielder.
"It is a case of watch this space for a striker and I think we need another central midfielder to bolster the squad.
"And, as well as these, we have two players coming on trial - a Scottish striker and a defender from Mansfield - who I am hoping will impress in pre-season."
Meanwhile, season ticket sales are going well with more than 400 sold.
The special rate finished this week but the club are hoping to get at least towards the 600 mark once pre-season starts in late June.
And the club has currently re-seeded the pitch at the Fraser Eagle Stadium and work is ongoing to prepare the ground for the first pre-season friendly match against Coca Cola Championship side Burnley on Saturday 8 July.
- FORMER Stanley keeper Jon Kennedy has not been offered a new deal by Halifax Town.
Kennedy played for the Yorkshire side in the Conference Play-Off Final which Hereford won in extra-time but Town boss Chris Wilder has decided against offering the ex-Sunderland shot-stopper a contract next season.
It is thought there are a couple of Conference clubs now chasing the goalie, though.
Another former Stanley player, Ged Brannan, has signed a new one year deal with Conference side Morecambe.