Lee Molyneux is set to complete his departure from Stanley next week – but the Reds are on the verge of making their second summer signing.
Shay McCartan is a free agent after being released by Burnley at the end of the season but is set to stay in east Lancashire with Stanley.
The 19-year-old forward is in advanced talks with the Reds and spent this week with the Stanley squad on their pre-season training camp in Portugal.
Reds boss James Beattie now hopes to agree terms with the Northern Ireland Under-19 international, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Conference Premier side Hyde FC.
Burnley signed McCartan from Glenavon on a two-year deal in 2010 and after impressing with the Clarets’ youth team, he earned an extension last summer.
The youngster was handed just one first-team appearance but enjoyed a run of 16 games with Hyde, helping the Greater Manchester outfit defy the odds by avoiding relegation.
McCartan would become Beattie’s second signing after Nicky Hunt agreed a two-year deal last week.
The 29-year-old right-back joined Stanley on loan in January, making 11 appearances before a hamstring injury brought a premature end to his season.
Upon his return to Rotherham, Hunt was released from the final year on his contract and despite interest from other clubs, the former Bolton and Preston defender opted for a permanent return to Accy.
That made it 14 players signed on for next term, although Molyneux is set to become the second member of last season’s squad to turn down a new deal and choose to move on.
Midfielder Amine Linganzi earned a two-year contract with League Two champions Gillingham and Molyneux will join him in League One next season after confirming he’d agreed terms with Crewe and had undergone a medical.
Both players were offered new contracts at the Store First Stadium but their departure has come as no great surprise to Beattie. Although the new boss offered the best terms his budget could stretch to, he expected both to receive better offers elsewhere having shone during Stanley’s successful bid for survival.
Indeed, Molyneux was named the players’ player of the season after firing Stanley to safety, scoring eight goals in 12 games following his switch from left-back to left wing.
Just three players are now yet to confirm if they’ll stay at Stanley this summer – Rommy Boco, Padraig Amond and Francis Jeffers. All were offered new deals at the end of the season.
Boco has been strongly linked with Chesterfield but this week fellow midfielder Gary Roberts joined the Spireites on a three-year deal. Roberts boosts the ex-Accy contingent at Chesterfield with them having already signed Jimmy Ryan this summer while Leam Richardson became Paul Cook’s assistant manager.
Amond has this week been linked to League Two rivals Morecambe while Jeffers’ intentions are unclear. The trio didn’t travel to Portugal with the Stanley squad last Sunday.
The Reds returned on Thursday and managing director Rob Heys felt it was a worthwhile trip.
Beattie was keen to take his squad overseas and the new manager was backed by the Stanley board.
“We’ve agreed to send the squad abroad before, but not to anywhere like that,” said Heys.
“The complex was really geared up for looking after a professional football club.
“It has a gym, grass pitches; the facilities are excellent so it was really beneficial.
“It was also a bit of a reward to all the lads who managed to keep us up last season and have signed on again.”
Tickets are selling fast for Stanley’s first home friendly against Everton on July 17, with a crowd of over 4,000 expected at the Store First Stadium.
The Reds are also ahead of where they were this time last summer in terms of season-ticket sales.
And they hope to boost gates even further next season by bringing a handful of games forward from Saturday afternoon to a Friday night.
That formula worked when Stanley hosted Morecambe in April, resulting in a bigger gate, a better atmosphere and a crucial three points.
This week the club confirmed that they’ve brought forward the home games against Scunthorpe (February 14) and Mansfield (April 18) and a few more are set to follow.
“We still prefer the traditional afternoon slot on a Saturday but there will be a few Friday games over the course of the season,” Heys added.
“It’s a different atmosphere on a Friday night and we know that people are under pressure to do other things on Saturdays.
“It’s also a chance for people who support other local teams to come along every now and again and see for themselves how the club’s getting on.”