ACCRINGTON Stanley defender Dean Winnard has penned a new contract committing him to the Reds until the summer of 2016.

The 24-year-old, who joined the club in 2009, becomes the third Stanley player to commit his future to the club this week.

And the centre back is delighted to have signed the deal.

He said: “I can’t wait to get started. It seems like I’ve been off forever now and I can’t wait to return. Any deal to be staying in the Football League is a great deal. There are so many great players out there who can’t even get into the league so it’s an honour to still be playing in it.

“It’s been a long road for me at the club with some ups and downs and some great experiences that you can only get at this club. That can only be a good thing.”

Reds boss James Beattie is also pleased that Winnard has pledged his future to the Reds.

"We're thrilled that Dean’s extended his contract," said Beattie. “He couldn't wait to sign which was music to my years. He said he wouldn't want to sign anywhere else and we're so pleased to keep him on board.

"We discussed it and it's something he wanted to do, being a new dad, to get that extra bit of stability into his life. If he can kick on again this year he can be excellent. He's already one of the most consistent players we've got and deserves his new deal.

"He was a pivotal member of our squad last year and his form throughout the season was tremendous. I'm delighted that he's signed up for two years.”