Captain Seamus Conneely is fully focused on next season and says he is not anxious that Accrington Stanley will once again be relegation favourites with the bookmakers.
Stanley were always favourites to go down in the early years of being in League Two but defied the odds year after year.
After making the play-offs in 2011, the Reds were looked on more favourably by the bookies but still upset the odds when they were crowned League Two champions in the summer.
They will go back to being one of the teams predicted to be in the bottom four this season in League One but that doesn’t bother the Stanley skipper.
“We had one of the lowest budgets in League Two and were favourites to go down but won the league and we will have the lowest budget in League One and again be the favourites with the bookmakers to be relegated,” said Conneely.
“No one at the club worries about that, we are not anxious about it, and we will do our best to defy the odds again.
“We have been to a lot of the teams already in League One, the likes of Shrewsbury, Peterborough, Southend, Bradford but there are a couple we haven’t been to, like Sunderland and Charlton, and it’s exciting.
“I do not think there is a huge gap between League Two and League One, there are teams with bigger budgets but I think our style of play will be more suited to higher leagues. The higher you go, the more football teams like to play and we are a team who like to get the ball down and play.”
Conneely had the glory of lifting the League Two trophy and admits that’s probably something he will think about more at the end of his career with the focus on next season now.
“We are raring to go. Promotion has sunk in, we have had three or four weeks to get used to it. We had a great month in April, we got promoted and then won the league. We enjoyed ourselves and at the end of my career I will look back and it could be the best thing I ever did but now it’s all about pre-season.
“I guess there will be more of an edge in this pre-season, the gaffer will bring in a couple of players, it will be a higher standard and everyone will want to be in that starting XI on the first day of the season, no different to last season really.
“We do have a settled squad though, most of the lads are signed up, and that’s a huge boost. Years ago Accrington were victims of their own success, where they did well and teams came in and cherry-picked the players but now no one will go on a free as everyone is on longer term contracts.”
One player who has left is goalie Aaron Chapman who has joined Peterborough.
“We were sorry to see Chappy go, he did well last year and won the Golden Glove, he was a good character but I am sure the gaffer will get another keeper in to rival Jonny Maxted for the position.”
The fixtures are out on June 21st and Conneely can’t wait.
“It’s a big occasion, especially when you are in a new league. There will be big teams, big occasions and big crowds with a lot to look forward to. It’s always exciting to see who you get on the first game of the season.”