Captain Seamus Conneely has signed a new two-year deal which will keep him at Accrington Stanley until 2019.
The 28-year-old first came to the Reds in January 2015 from Sligo, where he had played under Stanley manager John Coleman.
He has since commanded a regular place in the centre of midfield and has put pen to paper on a new contract this month.
“I feel it’s exciting times at Accrington,” said Conneely. “We have had one very good season where we reached the play-offs and a very good end to last season which hopefully we will carry into this season.
“I have settled in the area with my wife and baby and just bought a house so this is ideal for me.”
Conneely, who started his career at Galway United, did have a spell in England with Sheffield United in 2011-2012 but wasn’t able to make the breakthrough.
“It didn’t work out at Sheffield United but Accrington gave me another chance to play professional football in England and thankfully it’s worked out.
“I have had two good seasons and I am looking forward to an even better one this season with the goal of promotion.”
Conneely says the squad is taking shape and he is optimistic about Stanley’s prospects for next season.
“The gaffer has said he wants to work with a small squad this season but I know the gaffer, Jimmy (Bell) and John (Doolan) want to bolster the squad, there are still a few gaps to fill.
“Shay McCartan has obviously left and we need someone to replace his goals but we have signed Erico Sousa and Mehki McLeod and they have looked good in pre-season. I can’t wait for the games to start now as that’s how you get your sharpness.”
Conneely’s main aim this season is to improve his goal tally after scoring his only goal of the season on the final day with the last kick at Stevenage.
“I was the last player to score for Accrington!” said Conneely.” It is something I need to work on. I scored three the season before last and I got some stick until I scored last season but it is something that’s on my mind to improve on.”
Mansfield are the pre-season favourites but the skipper says that means nothing.
“They have signed quite a few players but, as we found last season, it can take time to gel so it’s not always that simple. We are quietly confident, the gaffer has spoken about our aims for this season and we know what we want – promotion.”