JAMES Beattie insists he is “fit and hungry” to play for Accrington Stanley - after admitting Sam Allardyce was set to hand him a Blackburn Rovers return before being axed in December 2010.

The 34-year-old striker is hoping to make his Stanley debut in Friday night’s League Two clash at Barnet after joining the club as a player-coach late last week.

Beattie, who has been without a club since being released by Sheffield United at the end of last season, started his career at Ewood Park and admitted he was set to sign for his former club when Allardyce got sacked by Venky’s.

Beattie said; “I remember talking to Sam on a number of occasions and I was really happy about that. What happened to Sam, when he left Blackburn, it fizzled out after that.

“At one point it was quite close and I would have been delighted at that. I am sure it would have happened if Sam had stayed at Blackburn Rovers.”

Stanley boss Leam Richardson admits he is yet to decide whether Beattie will feature tomorrow night, but the former England international insists he is ready if he gets the nod.

“I am hungry and want to play,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. You miss the playing and the whole atmosphere about being part of the club, there is no working environment like it.

“You are a long time retired and that time is not for me. I am here and still harbouring ambitions to play at a higher level. With me not playing consistently for two and half years my body feels good.

“For a 34-year-old footballer my joints are in the best shape of any player this age. I think I am fit, my back is not screaming like most of the lads at my age.”