STANLEY new boy Will Wood is looking forward to the challenge of breaking in to John Coleman’s starting XI after becoming the club’s first summer signing.

The former Southampton youngster penned a one-year contract at the Wham Stadium having left St Mary’s following the expiry of his previous deal.

Defender Wood isn’t a stranger to Stanley having trained with the squad in February and knows the quality of player he will be competing with.

The 21-year-old said: “I came down for a few days in February to see what it was like and train with the lads. I really enjoyed it and here I am.

“When I came here before they were flying and there was no stopping Accrington.

“It’s good for the club to go up, League One is a bigger stage than League Two and hopefully everyone is going to be ready for next year and see if we can push on.

“I know a couple of faces and hopefully we can add a few more signings.

“The lads did well last year so they will be looking forward to playing in League One and hopefully we can do really well.

“I just want to get in to the team as soon as possible and contribute as much as I can.”

Wood had been with Premier League Southampton from the age of 11, having previously had trials with Fulham and Chelsea.

But the former Saints youngster is looking forward to making a new life in East Lancashire.

He told the club website: “I’m delighted to get it done early doors, before going away and I can relax and have a chill before the start of pre-season.

“I need to get in to the team, play games.

“I’ve never played a professional match in the EFL, I’m looking forward to get back in pre-season, getting fit and looking to get in the team as quickly as possible.

“I’ve always been a southerner but I’m looking forward to settling up here.

“You have to be prepared to move. I lived away from my mum from a young age when I was at Southampton and I have been used to living away.

“It’s just a bigger distance here.”

A versatile defender, Sussex-born Wood is an attack-minded left back but can also play at centre half.

Stanley boss Coleman said: “Will is a defender who came to train with us in February and impressed us.

“He has come through a prestigious academy at Southampton and fits our criteria of a young, hungry player.”