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In opposition: Accrington Stanley – ones to watch

17 August 2021

Accrington Stanley have retained the majority of their squad from the 2020/21 in which they finished 11th.

Nine of last season's goal scorers return for the 2021/22 season with 50 of the team’s 61 goals back the new campaign. Manager John Coleman has plenty of attacking options to choose from.

 

Colby Bishop

Signing his first contract with the club in July 2019, Nottingham-born Colby Bishop arrived to Accrington Stanley after spending the previous five seasons (2014-19) at Notts County, Gloucester City (loan), Worcester City, Boston United and Leamington. In fact, Bishop is reported to have combined his playing career with a job all while in school. In just his second appearance for the club, he netted his first goal from the penalty spot in an EFL Cup 3-1 defeat to Sunderland.

During the 2020/21 season, Bishop finished second on the team with 11 goals scored. This season, Bishop opened his scoring account with a game-winning headed effort as part of a first round Carabao Cup game against Rotherham United. He owns a 33% goals per 90 minutes played average in two league games thus far.

 

Matt Butcher

Matt Butcher inked his first professional contract with AFC Bournemouth in April 2015, after playing his way through the U18 and U21 sides for the Cherries. During the 2015/16 season, he collected his first career start for Bournemouth – with the team playing top-flight football for the first time in the club’s history, as part of the team’s 2-1 victory against Birmingham City in the Emirates FA Cup.

Since that time, Butcher has completed loan spells with Gosport Borough, Poole Town, Woking, Yeovil Town and St. Johnstone, before ultimately returning to Accrington Stanley permanently prior to the start of the 2020/21 season. Already this season, Butcher has matched his goal-scoring tally from a season ago with two, including the game’s opening score over the weekend in his side’s 2-1 league win at home to Cambridge United. Altogether, he’s scored in both League One games thus far for the Reds against Cambridge United and Wycombe Wanderers, respectfully.

 

Dion Charles

Having been rumoured to be in line for a possible move to Championship side Stoke City during the summer transfer window, Dion Charles is now in his third year with the club. He was the team’s leading goal scorer from a season ago. In fact, the Northern Ireland international would conclude the 2020/21 League One campaign tied for fifth in the league among all goal scorers with 19 to his credit.

Born in Preston, forward began his professional career at Blackpool in 2013/14, having come up through the youth system with the club. He would go on to bag 18 goals for AFC Fylde (2014-16), before inking contracts with Fleetwood Town (2016-18) and Southport. The electrifying forward has already opened his scoring account for the 2021/22 season on the heels of a 2-1 victory against Rotherham United in the first round of the Carabao Cup, tallying a first half goal for the Reds to open the game’s scoring.

Charles earned his first international call up for the Northern Ireland senior squad in the team’s friendly against the United States in March 2021.

 

Sean McConville

Sean McConville is the club captain for Accrington Stanley, having also held the distinction of wearing the captain’s armband during the 2020/21 campaign. He is serving his second spell with the club.

McConville also played for the team from 2009-11, before departing for Stockport County. In his time at Accrington Stanley, the midfielder from Liverpool has accumulated almost 300 career appearances for the side, and scored just under 60 goals. He arrived back with the club following the 2015 season, after completing a one-year contract with Chester. Since arriving back to Accrington Stanley, he has put pen to paper on new contracts with the club following each of the 2017, ’18 and ’19 seasons, respectively. Thus far in 2021/22, McConville has accounted for 18 crosses, while also drawing a team second-high matching six fouls against him.

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