JAMES Beattie does not yet know whether Accrington Stanley will be able to bring Lee Molyneux back to the club on a permanent basis – but he has urged Saturday’s hat-trick hero to keep up the good work.
Molyneux was Stanley’s player of the season last term before joining League One side Crewe, but returned on loan in January and has earned plaudits from his manager for his performances.
The left winger scored all three goals in the weekend 3-1 win at home to Chesterfield and his loan spell runs until the end of April, after which his future is uncertain.
But Beattie believes Molyneux is happy to be back at Stanley and hopes that will continue to bring the best out of him.
Asked about the chances of a permanent deal in the summer, the Reds boss said: “I don’t know, at the moment we’re just delighted to have Lee here playing and he’s delighted to be playing.
“He’s got a smile on his face, which is very important.
“He hadn’t played a lot of football at Crewe or in the last few months and he said to me that he wasn’t even half fit but now you can see he’s fit.
“He’s a different man than he was last year, I think he’s more receptive to information, he’s had a gorgeous baby girl which obviously makes you grow up a lot quicker.
“If he can put performances in like Saturday I’m delighted to have him here.”
Stanley were boosted ahead of the Chesterfield game by the presence of Beattie’s friend and Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier as an observer at training on Friday.
“I’ve texted Matt and told him, ‘You can come to training whenever you want pal!’” Beattie said after the Chesterfield game ended with Stanley’s first home win since November.
The Reds host Hartlepool tonight in the second of seven games in 22 days. Stanley sit third bottom of the table but are three points behind 12th.
Peter Murphy serves a one-match ban after his red card on Saturday and Nicky Hunt completes a suspension, while Michael Liddle is out with a slight hamstring strain.
But a number of players have recovered from illness and Piero Mingoia is fit again after sustaining a dislocated shoulder in training.
Of Mingoia’s injury, Beattie said: “Tony Tompos the academy physio was brilliant.
“He kept Piero calm and managed to push his shoulder back in.
“Everybody saw it on the training pitch and it was surreal.
“As soon as it went in Piero was up and about and said it’s fine but Tony said, ‘No, you can’t carry on training’, so I had to join in, which was great for me!
“But Piero’s fine now and that’s a massive bonus.
“There have been a couple of lads who’ve been ill and we’ve had to watch whether they come in and spread the illness around.
“Kal (Naismith) was ill last week, and Shay (McCartan) and George Miller have been ill. But all the lads are back together now.”