John Coleman believes that his squad is now stronger than it was prior to the opening of the January transfer window.
It’s been a busy winter for the Reds. Following the return of six loanees to their parent clubs, Stanley added five new faces to their squad, and made Callum Johnson’s loan move into a permanent one.
Danny Williams and Akeel Francis have also signed up permanently, while there’s been loan swoops for Jimmy Dunne, Offrande Zanzala and Charlie Rowan.
And, after winning three league games in a row to move back into the automatic promotion places, Coleman says the added competition for places has brought more hunger into his side.
“The lads we’ve managed to bring in so far, are the type of players that we want here,” he said. “Players who are hungry and can offer us options across a couple of positions.
“We had a chat with the lads while we were on that bad run, we asked them to step up and at first they didn’t. It was a case of the players needing a wake up call to realise what could happen to our season if we didn’t snap out of it.
“With all of the loanees going back we needed to strengthen and add depth. Straight away you do notice that difference, the training certainly becomes more competitive. Only time will tell whether we have done enough.
“We’ve now got four strikers and it helps having those options who change things. It means that players can’t rest on their laurels, if you lose form there’s somebody hungry and ready to take your place.”
Asked how his faces are settling in, Coleman joked: “Winning, and making them sing on the bus home, has definitely helped.”
The Stanley manager also provided a fitness update ahead of Saturday’s clash with Port Vale, and hinted that a couple of players could leave on loan this window.
“We’ve got one or two bumps and bruises from last week,” he added. “Seamus Conneely is on the road to rehab following his groin operation, we’re hopeful we can get him back in the next couple of weeks.
“We’ve got a lot of players pushing for places and we haven’t ruled out letting a couple leave on loan.
“There’s been a few enquiries for players and also for one or two of the younger lads, we’ll continue to monitor that situation this week before making a final decision.”