Accrington Stanley's fine start to the season has surprised a few including FanZoner Lee Walker.
Stanley must build on their impressive early form
Nine games in, and with seventeen points already on the board, what a start it has been for Paul Cook's mighty Accrington Stanley. I firmly believe we have enough to easily occupy a mid table place or even better come the end of the domestic season in May.
As always we where tipped for the drop along with perennial relegation candidates Barnet FC. I will even admit I was not overly optimistic following our opening day Capital One Cup first round loss to League One Carlisle United. Yes we where playing against higher league opposition but the total lack of creativity from midfield and up front was worrying.
The only bright spark of that trip up the M6 was the return to the club of former Sunderland loanee Michael Liddle who has slotted straight back into his favoured left back position. Massive credit should be given to Cook and his trusty assistant Leam Richardson as they immediately acted after the game with the full time addition of last season's fan's favourite, striker Padraig Amond.
I must admit I initially wasn't the biggest fan of Amond, with an unremarkable seven goals in forty-two appearances last season. This season however he has turned that round with five goals already and looks like scoring more. With our one striker system being used he is the main man, currently keeping Reading loanee and fellow Irishman Karl Sheppard on the bench.
Amond himself could be the key summer signing, however the arrival of former Stanley hero Rommy Boco from Sligo Rovers for me, really could be the catalyst for another unbelievable shot at the playoff's. He looks fitter than ever and already has three goals from Midfield in his six appearances this season. Along with Will Hatfield who has been transformed from last season's super sub to essential starter we have the tools to unlock any defence.
Talking of the defence, we also seemed to have tightened up at the back with the latest loan additions of Rob Atkinson (Fleetwood Town) and defensive midfielder Danny Schofield (Rotherham United). They have brought some much needed experience to the back line and it really has made a huge difference. Peter Murphy is finally playing in his best position in central defence alongside Atkinson and to see how much his game is coming on is brilliant to see.
He scored his third goal of the season against Wimbledon rifling a shot into the top corner, not bad for a defender! I must also mention Lee Molyneux who without a doubt has been Man-of-the-Match the last two games. He really was magnificent at left back at the weekend following Liddle's suspension and could be the man we have been looking for.
He has not really set the world slight since leaving Everton as a highly rated youngster, failing to settle at Southampton, Port Vale and Plymouth Argyle. That has now all changed however with his tough no-nonsense approach being a massive hit down the left hand side.
This week we welcome John Coleman's Rochdale to the Crown ground on Saturday. If we win that I really will start to dream.
On Stanley On!