Young Stanley defender Luke Greaves can’t wait to return to the club for pre-season training and begin working with the first team players on a day-to-day basis.

The centre back is one of three youth team products who will pen his first professional contract on 1st July and he’s looking forward to getting into full time training with James Beattie’s team.

“It’s great to think that I’ll be able to come in and train every day with the first team players with all the quality that they’ve got,” he explained. “That’ll help me improve a lot more. I’m from Bolton and I used to go and watch them sometimes and used to watch Nicky Hunt play for them. It’s mad that I could play alongside him now!

“A professional contract is what you aim for at the start of your two year apprenticeship. When you go in (to find out) it’s nerve wracking but that is your goal and when you do it there’s nothing better really.”

The 18-year-old has already had a taste of first team football in a loan spell at non-league side Padiham and he believes that’s helped him prepare for life as a pro.

“I think the loan spell was massive,” he said. “I played for Padiham for two months and in my last week with them I played for the youth team on the Tuesday and I felt a massive difference. I had more confidence because I’d been playing that little bit quicker pace and against men.

“Playing senior football is a lot different to playing youth football. It’s a lot more competitive and winning is a lot bigger. Steve Wilkes (Padiham manager) phoned me on the Friday before my first game for them and told me that they were putting me straight into the team. I was a bit nervous at first but once I got playing games I got more confidence and I really enjoyed it.

“I think I’ll probably go out on loan again because that’s the best way to gain experience. If you get a chance then you just have to take it. At this club you do see players getting a chance at a young age and it’s a good motivation that we can get there too.”