STANLEY boss John Coleman believes the return of skipper Seamus Conneely will be like a new signing when the midfielder returns from injury.

The Reds captain went under the knife this week to cure a groin hernia and had been playing through the pain barrier.

He is set to miss the rest of January but could return in time for the home game against Stevenage on February 3.

And Coleman said his midfield general has undergone short-term pain for long-term gain.

He said: "All being well it should be three and half weeks so it is better to get it sorted now.

"I am just disappointed that we didn't do it earlier on but I know Seamus wanted to play through it but eventually we have now reached a point where enough is enough but when he comes back he will be like getting another player."

The Reds boss, whose side travel to Cheltenham tomorrow, said Conneely embodies the Stanley side.

He added: "We've got good players here who are all pushing for places. Seamus probably epitomises the way we play, he is very calm, likes to get on the ball and play football. He represents our brand really."