ERICO Sousa wants to mark his new Accrington Stanley contract by forcing his way into John Coleman’s starting XI for the opening game of the League One season.

The wideman scored twice in a man of the match display against Hyde United in midweek and has been rewarded with a new an improved deal at the Wham Stadium.

Stanley took a club option up on Sousa’s previous deal to keep him at the club for this term but the Portuguese man has now penned improved terms which include an option for the 2019-20 season.

An the 23-year-old, who spent most of last season on the bench such was the form of Stanley’s starting side, is hoping to catch the eye of Coleman in pre-season.

“Last season I was on the bench a lot which isn’t easy but you can’t complain when the team won the league,” said Sousa.

“Hopefully I played my part by pushing them to do better.

“I will be working my hardest this season to try and get more game-time. If I am on the bench, or even if I am not, I will keep pushing to get in the team.

“There is a lot of competition in midfield but I am glad the gaffer has seen my talent and hard work to offer me a new contract.”

Sousa was pleased with his performance at Ewen Fields in midweek when he struck two super goals in the second half, both with his weaker foot.

“It’s my second 90 minutes and I am happy to get the minutes in, get my fitness in and I was glad to score two goals as well,” he added.

“The second was on my weak foot, my left foot, so I am glad it went in.”

And Reds chief Coleman said he was pleased with Sousa’s form so far this summer.

He added: “Erico was outstanding against Hyde and scored two great goals, he is a good player and is keen to force himself into the side.”