Luke Joyce is proud to be entering his sixth season at Accrington Stanley – and honoured to be captain of the Reds.

The 27-year-old is now the longest serving player at the club, along with Dean Winnard, and can’t wait for the 2014/15 season to get underway at home to Southend on Saturday.

“I am very proud to be captain at Accrington Stanley,” said the midfielder, who started 45 of the 46 league games last season as Stanley finished 15th.

“My first game as captain was Port Vale at home a few years ago and it was a great feeling when I first put the armband on and something I am really proud of and something I don’t take for granted. I love doing it and hopefully I can do it for a long time.”

Luke Joyce MITRE away

Stanley captain Luke Joyce

While Stanley are often written off by many as relegation favourites at the start of every season they have defied the odds year after year and the skipper says they are only looking upwards for the new campaign.

“The ambitions are to get promoted, that’s what we are looking at and that’s where we want to be,” he said.

“That’s the aim of every team at this stage of the season , that’s where they want to be, to be at the top of the league.

“If we beat Southend we could be at the top of the league on Saturday.

“We definitely want to make sure we do better than we did last season and we need to have a better start that what we did after not winning in our first 12 league games.

“We need to continue that form from the 12th game onwards as we were in great form and we have to make sure we start well.”

He continued: “The last few days have been focusing on the game on Saturday and getting the finer details sorted out, get each player’s job organised and the set pieces.

“We have talked about Southend but the main focus is on ourselves and how we can affect the game and beat Southend.

“We have been looking to this first game all through pre-season and now the hard work is done and I can’t wait.

“It’s great that we are at home, our fans are always vocal, there are not loads of them but they make a lot of noise and get right behind us.

“It’s a great atmosphere at home games and hopefully there will be a few more on for our first home game of the season and, if we do our jobs and play well and start off with a win, then we will  encourage them to keep coming.”

Joyce says he has developed in his six seasons at the Store First Stadium, especially in his role as captain.

“I think I have grown into the role – the job means you have got to delegate, a few lads in our squad aren’t the brightest and you have got to make sure they know where they are training, at what time and what they need and all those things.

“I also have to do whatever the gaffer wants me to do and whatever information he wants me to get across and liaise with Naz the kitman, it’s nothing major.

“We have done the fines list this week and I have to make sure they all know what they can or can’t do – that’s good fun.”