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Mahoney’s Blackburn Rovers debut helps out Accrington Stanley
ACCRINGTON Stanley had the club coffers boosted by an ex-player’s debut for his new team in midweek.
Now manager James Beattie is hoping for a boost to their league position against in-form Cheltenham tomorrow.
Connor Mahoney made six appearances for the Reds this season – five off the bench – before making his dream move to Blackburn Rovers last month.
The 16-year-old became the third youngest player in his boyhood club’s history to play for the senior team, after coming on as a late substitute in the 5-0 FA Cup third round defeat at Manchester City.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer described the former Witton Park High School pupil as “the best player for the last five minutes” at the Etihad Stadium.
It came as no surprise to Beattie, who has backed the teenager to be “as good as he wants to be”.
The Reds boss was hands on in ensuring both the club and the player got the best deal possible.
“He’s a cracking lad, first and foremost, he’s a very talented footballer, and he’s very intelligent for such a young man,” he said.
“I remember speaking to him initially when Blackburn made the first enquiry about him and I let him know straight away and he was over the moon.
“And then I told him to be patient. We wanted things to be right for him and obviously the club and Blackburn, but I knew what a special player they were getting.
“I think his standing within the club now shows you that. He’s done very well since he went in and I know Gary (Bowyer) is really impressed with him and him coming on against City is a sort of statement of how impressed he is.
“He deserves it and hopefully it’s the first of many.”
But it is his current crop who he wants to aim high this weekend.
Stanley travel to Cheltenham hoping to end the run of just one win in seven that stretches back to the end of November.
They came close at home to Newport County last weekend, after Peter Murphy scored his second to put the Reds 3-2 up in the 88th minute, only for the Welsh club to respond with a stoppage time equaliser.
Stanley had trailed to an early goal but responded well to lead twice.
The Reds have trailed at some stage in 22 of their 29 games this season, although they have claimed 13 points from losing positions – exactly half of their tally.
“If we can just stop giving teams a head-start and a goal lead then that would be great.
“We emphasise how important the start to games is and how important set pieces are and how important it is to be right mentally in your approach to the game.
“I might stop saying ‘get off to a good start’ then they might start doing it.
“But it’s something we’re working on together. We’re here to be tested and we’ve got a definite test away to Cheltenham.
“We’ve got to get it through to the players to get back to winning ways.”
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