JOHN Coleman has made former Burnley star Graham Branch his sixth signing of the summer, and the Stanley boss believes his versatility could be worth two or three additions to his ranks.
Branch, 35, has penned a one-year deal at the Fraser Eagle Stadium after being released by Stanley's Championship neighbours at the end of the last campaign - after eight years.
Liverpool-born Branch was a firm favourite at Turf Moor, but having made just a handful of appearances from the bench last season, has jumped at the offer of first team football.
And with Coleman still searching for defensive and midfield cover ahead of the season opener at Wycombe, the addition of a player who can play in several positions provides valuable options, particularly on the left.
Coleman said: "He's got a lot of experience and knows the game inside out, having played a lot of games in the League. We haven't got the oldest team in the world so every bit of experience helps."
The former Tranmere, Bury, Wigan and Stockport player made his debut on Wednesday against Clitheroe.
But he is not certain to face his former team-mates in tomorrow's local derby with the Clarets.
"We will have to assess his fitness," Coleman said.
"It's nice to play decent pre-season games but the season doesn't start until 11 August. It's all geared towards getting us right for the first game of the season. I'm quite pleased with the way it's going. The lads have come back in good shape and they've been working hard over the past week."
Stanley have confirmed this week that their dispute with Northwich Victoria over new signing Mark Roberts will go to a tribunal, after the Vics turned down a small fee offered by Reds chairman Eric Whalley.
It is believed the Blue Square Premier side are expecting a much larger sum for the 23-year-old defender, who falls just under the age limit in which compensation fees are scrapped.
But Stanley officials claim Roberts was a free agent as at 5 May and the Vics' claim is unreasonable because he had only played a few games for the club.
Whalley said: "He's only played for Northwich for three months so quite what they're expecting I don't really know. If he had been with them for 10 years I would have been wary of what the outcome would be. He was a free player - they didn't send their return list in, but that doesn't matter - he's still got to sign a form."
Coleman confirmed the wrangle would not affect team selection.
He said: "There's no uncertainty about it - he was out of contract. I think the tribunal will take into account how long he had been at Northwich."
A busy pre-season programme will give Coleman the first chance to cast a closer eye over his other signings Kenny Arthur, John Miles, Paul Carden and Roscoe Dsane.
And Stanley have this week announced a glamorous home friendly against a Manchester City XI on Saturday 4 August, kick off 3pm. Both clubs have other matches booked for the same date, but while the Reds are likely to field a strong line-up against City, their opponents will send a mostly reserve team.
City's new boss Sven Goran Eriksson has a reputed £50M transfer war chest to spend in the coming weeks, but Coleman would not speculate on the strength of side the Premiership club would bring to the Fraser Eagle Stadium.
The Stanley boss said: "It would be lovely if they played a strong side, but irrelevant really. It will be nice when we come to play them, but it's not in my thoughts at the moment."
Tickets for tomorrow's Burnley match will cost £10 for adults, with concessions £5 and £2 for under-fives.
Meanwhile, former Accrington centre back Michael Welch, released by Coleman at the end of last season, has made the journey in the opposite direction to Roberts, penning a deal with Northwich Victoria.