ACCRINGTON Stanley chief executive Rob Heys has hailed James Beattie as the biggest signing in the club’s history after the former England striker yesterday joined the club as player-coach.

Beattie has agreed to link up with Stanley after talks with new boss Leam Richardson, with the pair previously spending time together in the Blackburn Rovers youth system.

The 34-year-old former Southampton star had been a free agent since leaving Sheffield United in the summer.

“It’s probably Accrington Stanley’s biggest ever signing,” Heys said. “We haven’t got the biggest budget here but this has come through Leam’s contacts, and it shows he has the contacts to do the job.”