JOHN Coleman is convinced he has made two quality signings who will help Accrington Stanley shock a host of League Two teams next season.
The Reds chief has added experienced goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin to his squad and he is hoping to challenge Rob Elliot for the No 1 spot.
And former Everton trainee Jay Harris showed just what he can do by scoring a wonder goal in Stanley's 1-0 win over League One Blackpool on Wednesday.
"We have a lot of quality in our side and a lot of flair players going forward and I think we can surprise a few teams next season," said Coleman.
"Ian is quite positive, he is pro-active and organises the defence well. I'd like to think he would be competitive with Rob.
"Jay Harris is hard working, good on the ball and has a good footballing brain - and he likes a tackle as well. You would like to think he would be another Anthony Barry. He certainly gets about the park and is decent on the ball."
Dunbavin, 26, who was a trainee at Liverpool and has Shrewsbury, Morecambe, Halifax and Scarborough on his CV, has agreed a one-year deal. The goalie has a rich pedigree having played with Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen when Liverpool won the Youth Cup in 1997.
Harris, meanwhile, will also sign for one-year and admitted it was hard when he left Everton in the summer but now can't stop smiling - especially after his goal.
"Hopefully I will get a few more in the season and keep progressing," he said. "I am made up to come here. All the fans, players, the manager and the chairman - everything about the club is great. There is no negativity, everything is positive.
"It was hard when I was released from Everton as I was let down by a few clubs so I am just made up that they wanted to take me on here. I would love to press on here and hopefully we can go up again.
"It will be hard to get my place as they are all quality players but if I keep going and score more goals, hopefully the manager will pick me in the side every week.
"I watch a lot of football and know a lot of the teams and some of the players in League Two so I just hope I will be selected and can make an impact."
One boost against Blackpool was the return of hitman Paul Mullin following a hernia operation and Coleman was delighted to see him back in his first pre-season outing.
He will give Mullin another run out in the games in Scotland - against Partick Thistle tomorrow (Sat, 3pm) and East Fife on Monday (ko 7.45) - in their final pre-season friendlies ahead of the League Two curtain raiser at Chester a week tomorrow.
"It is testament to the lads' character and his desire to play football, especially for Accrington, that he is back so soon. Paul's been a dream player to have as a manager and long may it continue."
And Coleman thinks, as well as going forward, Mullin will be influential helping out at the back next season.
"I do think that League Two will be a more physical league than the Conference and, if I have got any type of worry about my squad, is that we are not the biggest. That's when Paul Mullin's worth will come into his own at the attacking end and keeping the ball out at the other end. I may have to take another look at that later in the season."
With the addition of Dunbavin and Harris, Coleman says he wants at least two more players and is on the look-out for another striker to give him options as well as Mullin, David Brown, Andy Mangan and Rommy Boco - but admits it is hard.
"Every trialist we seem to get is a midfielder. We are like midfielders-r-us but I would still like to bring a striker in.
"We do need a bigger squad. Last season we had a small squad and we were a bit fortunate and it won't always be that easy. I am quite lucky though in that those players I have are versatile. Sometimes that helps when you dont carry a big squad."
- THE club are still waiting for the results of defender Andy Tretton's scan.