CAMERON Belford hopes he has done enough to convince Leam Richardson to extend his loan from Bury – with the Reds boss this week facing a decision over his goalkeeping options.
Stanley were left with only promising youth team keeper Andrew Dawber at their disposal after regular stopper Ian Dunbavin suffered a long-term shoulder injury at the end of November.
The Reds brought in Paul Rachubka on an emergency loan and the 31-year-old impressed in six appearances for the Reds, leading to suggestions that the Leeds United keeper could be signed on an extended deal when the transfer window opened.
But Rachubka picked up a three-match ban for a red card against Plymouth and Richardson was forced to bring in Belford on loan from Bury as a replacement.
The 24-year-old produced a superb man of the match display against Chesterfield on New Year’s Day but his loan expires before Stanley’s League Two trip to Aldershot Town and Rachubka’s suspension has now been completed.
That could leave Richardson to decide which of the two keepers he wants to bring back on loan, possibly until the end of the season.
Both players are likely to be surplus to requirements at their current clubs but, although Rachubka could potentially have the extra experience in his favour, Belford is eager to extend his stay at the Crown Ground.
“I’ve enjoyed coming here, they’re a good set of lads,” Belford said after making his third appearance for the Reds in the 2-0 home loss to Dagenham and Redbridge at the weekend.
“I probably would like to stay if that’s possible because I’m playing football.
“I’d rather be here than sitting on the bench at Bury.”
Nuneaton-born Belford started his career at Coventry before moving to Bury as a teenager.
He has made 78 appearances in six years at Gigg Lane but has not played for the Shakers since last February and is third choice under current boss Kevin Blackwell.
“I’m out of contract at the end of the season and I’ve not really been in the side there,” he said. “I spent the first month on loan at Southend this season and spent the last few months at Southend last season.
“I’ve been out of the picture for a while now.
“I knew at the start of this season that I wasn’t starting as first choice so it’s been a disappointing season for me, but it’s been good for me to come here and get some games.
“I need to be playing. I’m 24 years old and I need to keep playing as many games as I can.
“It’s up to the gaffer and Bury, they’ve got to sort it out themselves but I would like to stay here as long as possible really.”
Belford earned himself instant hero status with Reds fans after helping Stanley to victory over former manager Paul Cook on his home debut against Chesterfield, but could do nothing to prevent a defeat to Dagenham at the weekend.
“The Chesterfield game was one of those games,” he said.
“But we all worked equally as hard as each other to keep the ball out of the net, it wasn’t just me.
“We went from that on Tuesday to not that standard on Saturday, though. The lads knew we weren’t good enough against Dagenham.
“We started the game pretty well but we didn’t play particularly well in the first half. We got at them a bit in the second half but it was a bit too late for us.”